Skiing the clearcut off Sentinel in Larch Hills on Jan. 27. Check out that snow! (Marcia Beckner photo)

Skiing the clearcut off Sentinel in Larch Hills on Jan. 27. Check out that snow! (Marcia Beckner photo)

Column: Virtual loppet participants put in the kilometres at Larch Hills

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

The virtual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet, which stretched over the past two weeks of January, was a grand success!

More than 250 skiers chose their distance and skied it either alone or with a buddy or two.

The most popular distance was the 30 kilometre, with 87 folks skiing that route. Next was the 17-km with 62 skiers. Not too many were tempted by the 34-km, with only 7 reported skiing that distance. The 10 and five kilometre routes were very popular at 45 skiers each. The youngest participant was age 4, skiing tw0 kilometres. And we had two Sit Skiers complete the 4-km distance. Congrats to all who took part in this virtual loppet and joined in the spirit of loppeting. Not a race, it was a participatory event where the joy was is in just getting out there and doing the distance. Skiers were encouraged to let Karen in the Larch Hills chalet office know they had done a distance and she put their name in a draw for some lovely draw prizes. Submitting photos was also encouraged.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation of BC and Yukon benefit ted from the virtual loppet. The Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet has been affiliated with the foundation since its inception in 1985, and has raised more than $400,000 over its 35-year history. This year, thanks to our faithful donors, we added another $1,000 in donations.

Skiing along Cottonwood Cutoff recently, we stopped to talk to a friend heading the opposite direction. He commented: “You know, I’ve never had such a full social life as I am having this ski season. I keep running into skiing friends, and we stop and visit – at 3-metre distance.” I can attest to that. With indoor gatherings not allowed, and outdoor activities limited to four adults, checking in with folks on the ski trails is a wonderful alternative.

Read more: Column: Staying active while social distancing in the Larch Hills

Read more: Joyrider leaves frustrating mark on Larch Hills ski trails

We have enjoyed our time with the Grindrod Elementary students as they came up to ski three Tuesdays in January and Jim and I, along with other Larch Hills members, signed up to take students around on trails in the system. Lots of enthusiasm, plenty of laughs, adventures on big downhills and on one backcountry trail. So nice to share the love of the sport with these young enthusiasts!

With the great snowfalls we have been getting lately, the clearcuts are prime for adventuring upon. Last Wednesday, we headed out Sentinel, turning right at the first clearcut and skied all over it, revelling in the deep powder. Down Lidstone Connection to Porcupine Alley, and onto another clearcut in the farthest southwest in the Larch Hills system. Always fun to explore “the beyond” – gives a whole new, and broadened perspective of what a treasure we have in the Larch Hills!

A reminder that COVID-19 restrictions call for use of a mask when in the chalet – maximum of seven people per level. Skiing together is limited to four adults, and when skiing maintain a distance of three-metres apart. Following COVID-19 protocol will keep us all safe and ensure the Larch Hills can remain open.

Think snow!


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