Although there may not be snow enough to ski on in the Larch Hills as yet, there is still a lot of activity on the hill – much of it in getting ready for that great “Hooray!” day when we can hit the trails in earnest. (The sooner the better!)
There was a huge turnout for the annual Take Back The Hill day where crews of volunteers went out on the trails and clipped, raked, dug, snipped, cleared – whatever was necessary in order to have the trails in shape for the ski season. Many thanks to Blaine for organizing the event, and to all the various participants – LH Junior Race Team, Shuswap Trail Alliance, LH members, general skiing public, Vernon Outdoor Club, et al. Now for the snow.
On Oct. 19, Mick Ford and a dozen accomplices with four trucks had a work party to replenish the wood supply in the chalet and Cec’s Cabin. Ready for winter. Thanks to John Thielman for taking care of the danger trees on the trails.
There has been logging activity on the hill this summer/fall. Tolko has logged their area and hauled out on Larch Hills Road. They will complete the work the week of Dec. 17 when the roads are solid, but haul out through Moonwalk and Edgar so will not affect the ski trails. In consultation with Larch Hills Nordic Society executive members, Tolko has left buffer strips beside trails adjacent to areas which they have logged so as to reduce the visual impact of clearcuts and logging roads.
This past summer saw the tragic loss of three of our fellow Larch Hills skiers which has hit the ski community hard. On June 6, Curt Otterstrom died leaving us with warm memories of a big guy whom we all aspired to emulate as he raced well into his 70s. Hard-pressed we were to keep up to this speedy Swede.
On July 11, Erkki Keski-Salmi died suddenly. Well-remembered for his friendly disposition as one met him on the trails, this will be the first year in 28 that Erkki will miss the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet, named in honour of his son, Reino.
Then, on Sept. 1, John Coffey died, leaving the Shuswap trails and skiing communities bereft of a great resource and innovator when it came to trail designing and building. He wants us to “get out there and build trails, then use them.” We shall miss these three fellows greatly.
In December, we lost another individual who had been involved with the Larch Hills Ski Club in an official and coaching capacity way back in the ’80’s. Ton Hamilton was on the start/finish line with his stopwatch and the rest of the timing team for the first Larch Hills Marathon (subsequently the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet) in January 1985. Ton also coached with the club in those days.
Remember: When the snow is halfway down the Fly Hills, there is snow in the Larch Hills parking lot. Keep an eye on the LHNS web site – www.skilarchhills.ca – for an update every morning on the conditions and view the web cam which has its camera trained on the start area just off the chalet.
With the current cold temperatures, the land is freezing up. Perfect conditions for the snow which will ultimately come.