Sit skiers prepare for their race in the BC Cup #2 event at Larch Hills Feb. 12-13, 2022. (Contributed)

Sit skiers prepare for their race in the BC Cup #2 event at Larch Hills Feb. 12-13, 2022. (Contributed)

Column: Volunteers run successful BC Cup event at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner

By Marcia Beckner

Contributor

The hills were alive with the sounds of racers the weekend of Feb. 12-13!

With over 400 skiers per day, BC Cup #2 was a grand success, due in no small part to the massive effort of the 150+ volunteers before, during and after the event.

Chief of competition, Allan Corbett, started months ago to put together a team which managed to navigate COVID-19 restrictions, which seemed to be quite fluid at times.

Every skier on the start line, where I volunteered for the two days of competition, was so excited to finally be back racing after two seasons of training but no competitions.

Glad that Allan, his team and the Larch Hills Nordics had faith this could indeed happen!

Each of the sub-committees was responsible to get volunteers to fill the jobs. Ahead of time, there was the registration team who sent out the race notice, then dealt with the vast number of entries in all age categories from Boys/Girls Under 8 to Masters Men and Women, plus a para nordic category.

Information to be shared with all the clubs entered – from B.C., Alberta and Northwest Territories, bibs to be organized.

The chief of timekeeping had to gather up his team of timekeepers, the start/finish chief had to gather up his team of folks working in the start and finish areas, the chief of course had to make sure the race routes were well-marked, and that the tracks were set the best possible for each day.

The chief of calculations was responsible to gather up his team to ensure the results, through all those age categories, were correctly posted. Amazing the technology used in the upper floor of the chalet to make all this happen.

Read more: Salmon Arm’s Natalie Wilkie captures gold at 2022 Paralympic Winter Games

Read more: Shuswap skiers outstanding at Teck Track Attack Championship

On race days, very early there was a cadre of volunteer traffic controllers in the parking lot indicating to the drivers where to park.

With that number of skiers, along with their coaches and family members, there was more than 800 vehicles counted each day by the vehicle counter at the entrance, placed there some time ago in an effort to measure the carbon footprint – info to be used by the LHNS Carbon Neutral Committee.

That weekend certainly skewed the norm!

My job, as it has been for all the recent BC Cups hosted by the LHNS, was in the start area as “herder” – making sure the racers line up in the start lane according to race bib number.

If a skier is missing it is my job to tell the gals at the check-in where the racers receive their timing chips, then yell for the missing number. Makes for a tired, sore throat at the end of the weekend.

I just love my job. I get to see all the skiers competing in the event, chat with many of them, encourage them and work with an amazing starting line crew who never gets flustered. And it was lovely how many racers expressed their thanks to me for all the volunteers that make the race possible.

So many other day-of-race volunteers: providing food at finish line for racers (and food for volunteers), putting up and taking down fences, controllers on the course, bib hand-out, bib collection, chip handout and collection, finish line timers and plungers and race announcer Steve Fabro in Kings’ Kastle.

When Jim and I went for a ski one hour after the last race on Sunday, one would never have known there was a 400-skier race that day! Kudos to all LHNS volunteers.

So Olympics over, Paralympics underway.

Perhaps you have see the ad by PetroCan during the Olympics re: Great Coaching Fuels Great Athletes. Our own Natalie Wilkie of Para Nordic fame was in many of those ads with her coach, Brian McKeever.

Salmon Arm’s PetroCan has a lovely poster of Natalie and Brian displayed near the pumps. Natalie has won gold in two events already in Beijing: women’s long distance standing and women’s sprint free standing!

Shuswap