The 36th Annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet exemplified how, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”
From the $3,757 raised for the BC Heart and Stroke Fund – totalling $419,247 over 36 years – to the competitive and recreational skiers congenially enjoying the classic ski experience supported by more than 200 volunteers and 31 sponsors, the Loppet demonstrated teamwork.
The morning of Saturday, Jan. 25, saw crisp, slightly foggy conditions hovering around -1º C as 467 local and visiting skiers from throughout B.C., Alberta, Washington State and the NWT burst onto the Larch Hills. Intermixed with the friendly banter of meeting and greeting was a frenzy of waxing and ski testing as skiers shared their thoughts on the options of Klister waxes, “skins” or “scales,” to meet the challenge of the reconditioned but icy conditions. With distances from 1 to 34 kilometre to complete, acquaintances became friends along the trail. Refrains of “awesome,” “fast” and “tough” could be heard at the finish line, all expressed with a smile of satisfaction.
Family, friends and acquaintances showed support by participating, volunteering, encouraging, coaching and sharing the experience. Rare and heartwarming, competitors with an 82 year age span, tw0-year-old Henry Wallensteen, the youngest skier and the eldest, Wolfgang Hauser, shared the podium as they were recognized for their accomplishment. Farthest Away recognition went to Paul Guy and Greg Littlefair from Yellowknife, NWT.
The Salmar Community Association Volunteer Awards were gratefully given to Jonathan Bakker and Brian May for their many years of timing and digital contribution.
Fast conditions resulted in many fast times with local skier Thomas Hardy setting a course record in a blistering time of 1:33:28. This equates to an average speed of just under 22 km per hour, one that most of us only do on wheels.
Winners of the 34 km race were:
Overall Women – 1st Hannah Mehain 1:51:21
Overall Male – 1st Thomas Hardy 1:33:28
Winners of the 17 km junior racers were:
Junior Female – 1st Lys Milne 1:04:00.7
2nd Sophia van Varseveld 1:04:01.3
3rd Claire Van Bergeyk l:04:02.7
Junior Male – 1st Trond May 50:33
2nd Kristian Hove 52:55
3rd Simon Bakker 57:07
Top local female and male: Abigail May 1:55:03 and Thomas Hardy 1:33:28
Other top Junior category finishers included:
4 and Under – Hudson Mork, Sierra Widmer, Kelsey Klapstein, Henry Bollans, Sebastian Sutherland, Keattan Klassen
Ages 5 to 7 – Kiara Zuidhof, Skylar Zuidhof, Cleo Anderson, Ezekiel Liebich, Zion Bucher, Jake Olineck
Ages 8 to 10 – Sapphira Bucher, Emily Lane, Linnaea Heidt, Ian Orchard, Kai Hansen, Lex Hostyn
11 to 13 – Jeremia Bucher, Madeleine Wilkie, Hannah Breugem, Axel Hosten, Simon Heidt, Jonas Roberts
Full race results, information and video can be found at www.skilarchhills.ca and follow the link to Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet.