Jim and Max Beckner pose at Bilbo’s Bog at the Larch Hills ski area in December after a big snowfall, before track setting. Photo contributed

Lovely skiing at Larch Hills

Don’t judge ski conditions by amount of snow in Salmon Arm

By Marcia Beckner

Contributor

Although you wouldn’t think it from the dearth of snow down here in the valley, we have had many weeks of lovely skiing already in the Larch Hills.

After the major dump of snow in November, which had our hopes high for an early and long ski season, we had the thaw that took all the snow from town and thinned out but did not totally eliminate the snow from the hill.

With each subsequent rainfall down here, we got snow up high and the track setter guys were able to get out with the packer and the ginzoo groomer. Voila! Great tracks. So do not judge the ski conditions by what you see in town! Go to skilarchhills.ca to check out conditions and the web cam photo. Backcountry is a bit sketchy yet with an under-abundance of snow in the treed areas.

What you will not see on the web cam is the new look to the chalet, thanks to a 12,00-sq.ft. addition. The committee, along with contractors and volunteers, has put in countless hours on this project. The focus is to get the basement finished and usable for this ski season and events. The Chalet Expansion budget got a boost from Dancing with the Shuswap Stars which again was a roaring success, bringing in a record $37,000. (Put Nov. 23, 2018, on your calendar for next year’s DWTSS!)

Two terrific happenings this past week – at two ends of the age spectrum.

First, at the weekly meeting of the city council, Connie Harris Crowley was awarded the Canada 150 medal for her contribution to trail building in this community. We Larch Hills enthusiasts can be thankful to Connie and her determination for building the original trails in the Larch Hills, going back to 1977, before there was the current road for access.

Kudos to Connie!

Then, in Canmore, at the World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup last weekend in Canmore, Larch Hills Nordics ski team member, Natalie Wilkie qualified for the 2018 Pyeonchang Olympics. What a feat for this 16-year-old athlete who joined the para nordic ranks just 18 months ago following an industrial accident at school which did major damage to her left hand. Kudos to Natalie!

Lots of Larch Hills events coming up. The annual Lantern Ski will be Thursday, Dec. 28, with its wonderful atmosphere of lantern-lined trails, 5 to 9 p.m. Bring a goodie for the post-ski snack table.

Then, Saturday, Dec. 30, we will be hosting the Okanagan Cup, which will double as the qualifier for the BC Games. John Thielman will also be heading up the Larch Hills Fun Race that day.

Then, on Saturday, Jan. 20, is our premier event – the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet. There are distances for everyone, so get out and ski!

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