Trail tales: Appreciating Cec’s Cabin at Larch Hills

As ski and snowshoe season winds down, medals earned at national championships a highlight.

The final column in the ski season is always difficult.

There’s so many emotions and memories wrapped up in the hill, the events, the people, the activities, the chalet, its expansion, the snow that just kept coming and coming and is hard-pressed to leave.

Jim’s and my record for skiing the Larch Hills is May 17th with Pentti Vakeva many years ago. Eleanor Marshall recalls skiing on the May long weekend one year.

We shall see what transpires this year. I am convinced we will find enough skiable snow – with our rock skis – somewhere on the hill up to the end of May!

John Thornbury of Blind Bay reports that in late April about four years ago he was skiing up Sky Trail on a sunny day when a snowstorm hit about three-quarters of the way up. Not dressed for a late April snow, John carried on quickly to Cec’s Cabin where he put on a fire to warm up. As soon as the fire took hold the sun came out!

Cec’s Cabin has since its completion in 1988 been a destination spot for skiers – a place to settle in on the porch bench to have tea or lunch, a cabin in which to warm up if chilled, a lovely cozy cabin in which to overnight, site of the very welcoming aid station in the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet’s 30-kilometre event.

The cabin has quite the history. Back in 1987 Larch Hills Ski Club member Cec Pulsifer decided to build a cabin at the farthest end of the trail system, an idea enthusiastically supported by the membership. With help from LH members, Cec finished the cabin in 1988. It immediately became “Cec’s Cabin.”

Not long after, Cec and his wife relocated to Nova Scotia and we were left with his wonderful legacy.

A couple of weeks ago Peter Barrs stopped us in the LH parking lot: “Do you know Cec of Cec’s Cabin?” he asked. Like, rather well – Cec Pulsifer!

Turns out Peter was visiting his mother in a seniors’ home in Wolfville, Nova Scotia recently and she suggested Peter meet a fellow resident from Salmon Arm. It was Cec Pulsifer of Cec’s Cabin, Larch Hills. Cec regaled him with stories of Tom Hansen and John Thielman delivering logs to the building site and the building of “his” cabin.

In fact, the second of his two bedrooms in his residence has a sign over the door: Cec’s Cabin – with skiing memorabilia and photos/articles on the building of the cabin. Gullan Hansen sent me to the Larch Hills scrapbooks years 1986-88 where I found photos of Cec and crew building the cabin. What a treasure – and great legacy of one of the original Larch Hills’ enthusiastic volunteers.

Larch Hills has made its mark on the national scene. First, Larch Hills racing team showed its colours at the national championships in Thunder Bay in March. A highlight was Maggie Rodwell and Maggie Beckner – fondly dubbed “The Maggies” by the event announcer – racing to the podium in their Juvenile Girls races. Maggie Rodwell came home with two bronze medals and Maggie Beckner with a fourth and fifth. Congrats gals!

In addition, the Larch Hills Nordic Society has been named #7 in Nordic ski clubs nationally, measured in a number of fields. Gotta be proud of that!

Great fun to hear from our famous Paralympian champion Natalie Wilkie that she received a phone call from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau upon her return to Salmon Arm after her successes in PyeongChang.

Until next ski season… Happy spring!

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