There’s no need to wait for the annual lantern ski to enjoy Larch Hill’s cross-country ski trails after dusk.
Karen Tanchak, the Larch Hills Nordic Society’s (LHNS) operations manager, said there is now eight kilometres of illuminated trail to travel in the ski area. The lights are on seven days a week, from 5:30 a.m. to dawn and dusk to 10 p.m.
The lighting project was a major endeavour for the LHNS that began with fundraising in 2019. Last December, a grand opening was held for the completed initial phases of the project which included approximately 3.4 kilometres of trail. Work on phases three and four occurred this year.
Also new for this winter at Larch Hills is the extended dog trail. On weekdays, skiers and their dogs can travel the usual 800 metre section of Woodlot Ramble and then turn onto Sentinel and loop back to Woodlot. On weekends and statutory holidays, dog owners can only ski on the pre-existing dog trail (800 metres on Woodlot and 600 metres on Dogging It). On Jackrabbit Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., or during race days stipulated by the race marshal, the entire dog trail is closed.
Dogs must be on a leash in the parking lot but may be off leash on the trails. Dogs are also welcome on snowshoe trails and can be off leash. Dogs must be on leash if crossing the stadium to access snowshoe trails.
With the removal of health restrictions, popular Larch Hills events are back for 2022/2023. The Santa Cruz is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 18. The lantern ski will take place from 5 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29. The trail lights will be turned off for the kerosene lantern-lit event, and the chalet will be open. Tanchak said donations for the food bank are encouraged, and participants can bring Christmas treats to share with fellow skiers.
Regarding the chalet, it is now open daily from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., giving skiers a place to warm up, socialize and share a hot chocolate utilizing the full kitchen.
The Reino Keski Salmi Loppet returns in it’s traditional, non-virtual race format on Jan. 14, 2023. Another event making a comeback, the annual school Pirate Loppet will be held on Feb. 3, 2023. Participants are encouraged to dress as pirates for the event.
For information regarding Larch Hills Nordics events, daily trail conditions and more can be found at skilarchhills.ca or on the Larch Hills Nordic Ski Club page on Facebook.
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