Skiers along with the Heart and Stroke Foundation all won, as the 34th annual Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet enjoyed beautiful ski conditions and raised $5468 to create a 34 year total of $408,818 in support of heart health.
Early on Saturday, January 20, a surprise, fresh snowfall and quickly changing waxing conditions greeted 462 skiers as they made their way to the Larch Hills ski area.
Skiers from B.C, Alberta, Ontario, Washington, Montana, California, Belgium and Australia came to challenge themselves on beautifully groomed courses that ranged from 1km to 34 km.
The multi-generational and inclusive character of the event was exemplified by the three-generation Zuidhof family’s participation and by the over 80 year age span between 2 1/2 year old Kelsey Klapstein and 3 racers in the 80+ category. Kudos and congratulations went out to local ski icons Gullan Hansen for the inspirational completion of her 34th consecutive Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet and to John Henderson for the completion of his 33rd..
The post-Loppet celebrations enjoyed by participants included a deeply appreciated BBQ beef and hot soup lunch on the hill, followed by a community center swim, Appy Hour, Award Ceremony and a Pizza Social. A special poster presentation from Shirley Pommier, a close friend of Reino Keski-Salmi was a poignant part of the celebration.
With 250 volunteers and 32 local sponsors providing race organization, food and drinks, photography, safety and encouragement, the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet has been described as a “well oiled machine.” Spirit of Volunteerism awards were given to Georgia McLeod for her 34 years of helping and to the Controller duo of Carmen and Ellen Underhill for their critical contribution.
The winners of the 34 km race were:
Overall Women – 1st Pat Pearce 2:10:12
Overall Male – 1st Andrew Casey 1:48:29
The winners of the 17 km junior racers were:
Junior Female – 1st Zoe Larson 1:09:27
2nd Leah Nash 1:14:19
3rd Haleigh Parker 1:22:48
Junior Male – 1st Ian Williams 52:07
2nd Aiden Hepburn 1:02:39
3rd Fraser Paiement 1:22:37
The top local females were Alysson Hamilton 2:12:59, Rachel May 2:22:11 and Elena Bruns 2:22:57. The top local males were Thomas Hardy 1:52:27, Glenn Bond 1:57:05 and Chris Hamilton 2:02:29.
Para Nordic skiers Maya Jonas and Kaden Baum received gold medals.
Other top Junior category finishers included:
4 and Under – Thola Heckrodt, Tove Brown, Thea Prochotsky, Jake Olineck, Takaya Wilson, Wyn Thingsted
Ages 5 to 7 – Yana Bonthuys, Audrey Liebich, Shayla Flanagan, Gideon Bruegem, Aidyn Zuidhof, Nate Acton
Ages 8 to 10 – Kiara Pighin, Madeleine Wilkie, Reese Major, Dawson Bond, Max Calkins, Colby Cadden
11 to 13 – Isabelle Wilkie, Sofie Steinruck, Alexandra Peterson, Mitchell Bond, Evan Sadesky, Rowan Musselman Bell
Full race results, information and video can be found at www.skilarchhills.ca and follow the link to Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet
Submitted by Pat Danforth