Jim Beckner and Hermann Bruns break trail through Frodo’s Bog on Jan. 5, 2020. (Photo contributed)

Column: Too much snow brings challenges to Larch Hills

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

It’s been quite the ride for members of the Larch Hills Nordics this past week!

With more than 400 skiers expected for the Jan. 4-5 BC Teck Cup weekend at the Larch Hills, coming from all over the province including south to the Black Jack Club in Rossland, Kimberley Nordic, north to Bulkley Valley Club in Smithers, Caledonia Nordic in Prince George, west to Strathcona Nordic in Courtenay on Vancouver Island, and east to Edmonton, the extreme snowfall and local power outage the day before New Year’s made for anxious times among the organizers.

Without power at the chalet there would be no timekeeping, making it impossible to produce timed race results. And without the Larch Hills Road plowed, there would be no access for BC Hydro to get to the chalet to boot up the power. Thankfully, George Jackson cleared the road and kept it clear so Hydro could finally make it up to the chalet and restore power Friday afternoon – to the relief of the event organizers plus all the participants who were closely watching the Larch Hills website for updates. Thanks also to the volunteers who made sure the race courses were clear by removing the trees which had come down with the weight of the snow.

Saturday morning, the waxing tents were abuzz, the chalet was gearing up for food services, the stadium was ready for all the multi starts and finishes – one would scarcely know the host club had just dodged a bullet! Walking through the parking lot and through the stadium, I fielded comments from many folks giving kudos to the club for pulling off this well-organized event in the face of such uncertainty. Credit has to be given to the race committee who had everything in place in advance, with a cadre of volunteers whom the committee credits with doing an exemplary job in the myriad of assigned roles necessary to run a BC Cup.

Read more: Caution urged after snowstorm brings down trees throughout Larch Hills ski area

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Two days of exciting racing, the next dump of snow waiting until the last race had finished, the awards presented, the teams departed and the stadium and chalet cleaned up. Whew!

It was wonderful being part of the BC Cup as “herder” at the start line, assisting Barb Heckrodt in making sure all skiers got to the start line on time and in numerical order. The most crazy busy time was during the King’s Court races on Saturday, when we were faced with back-to-back heats, semis and finals, with all the skiers aged Under 8 to Under 16. Then in the afternoon the elimination rounds with the older skiers. It was so gratifying to hear from many skiers, young and old, “Thanks for volunteering.” Heart-warming!

After the races on Sunday, Jim and I joined Hermann Bruns for a ski on Ermine Frolic which turned out to be quite the adventure. We had to go over, under and through the many trees down on Ermine Frolic. And then when we crossed Frodo’s Bog we plowed through the 5-inches which had fallen that day. We had been receiving reports of skiing outings in the backcountry which turned out to be akin to our close-by experience!

The Lantern Ski on Dec. 28 was its usual magical event. And the Fun Race on the 29th garnered many donations to the food banks at the post-race auction. Never a dull moment with the Larch Hills Nordics!

On to the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Think “moderate” snow!

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