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Hundreds of volunteers make for successful event at Shuswap’s Larch Hills

Trail Tales by Marcia Beckner
Larch Hills Junior Race Team members completed the Teck BC Championships with a second overall finish March 1-3 at Larch Hills. (Brad Calkins photo)

By Marcia Beckner


What an exciting weekend!

On March 1, 2 and 3, 677 skiers gathered in the Larch Hills for the Teck BC Championships.

Ages of competitors ranged from under 8 to over 60; 27 clubs represented from all over B.C. (from as far away as Mount Washington on Vancouver Island, Bulkley Valley and Fernie), plus Alberta, Ontario and Washington.

Great excitement in the start area as the skiers lined up for their individual starts on Friday, March 1, in the sprints.

Their times would determine their place in the heats to follow, then the semis and finals.

A very busy day for those of us volunteering in the start area.

Larch Hills is known to put on excellent competitions, and one thing for sure is that everything is on time.

Each competitor is responsible to be available to start at his/her allotted time.

It is up to the start area volunteers, aka the “herders,” to call the skiers by number to the starting line.

With start times only 15 seconds apart, it’s amazing how quickly one’s start time comes up!

Our starter for the three days, Cam Brown, used his experience as starter to calmly get skiers out on the course.

Sprint day assistant starter Laura Hepburn made sure each skier was on the line in order.

The amount of electronic gadgetry at the start line is impressive!

In addition to their bib with their number, each skier had a chip velcroed to their ankle which was read by an undersnow wire linked to the start wand. As well, each skier’s start was recorded electronically by the Plunger, who also noted down the number of the skier starting.

Read more: Larch Hills Junior Race Team places second overall at Teck BC Championships

Read more: Column: Igloo returns to Larch Hills, Teck BC Championships this weekend

The finish line was no less impressive, with a beam across the finish line to read each skier’s chip, a volunteer manually recording order of finish, a timekeeper entering each finisher number electronically.

Leaves no room for mistakes!

All of this info is compiled by the results brains upstairs in the chalet to come up with results to be posted outside on the results board.

Then to use an algorithm to organize the sprint times into heats for each age category, followed by finals. Whew!

Wandering through the stadium one could overhear skiers talking about their race, how they handled a certain corner and if they managed not to fall, how they attacked, or survived, The Beast when approaching the finish line.

Lots of stories! Such a colourful event!

One Larch Hills member said even though he was not competing it was worth coming up to see the how colourful the stadium was with the start/finish fences, flags and banners. Then there were the colourful team suits from the various clubs.

Added to that were the numerous waxing tents, put up by each club, which surrounded the south and east sides of the chalet.

With hundreds of volunteer, from timekeeping, to food folks, to track setting, to stadium set up, to parking lot control, to awards presentations, to the Saturday night dessert banquet and dance, it was truly a wonderful event. As both a volunteer and competitor, I was truly appreciative of all that went into organizing this Teck BC Championships.


There is a second igloo at Cec’s Cabin! Peter Mair and Hermann Bruns built it last week, then capped off their success with sleeping in it overnight. Hermann reports that it was -16 C outside but a balmy -5 in the igloo!


A number of our LH skiers are competing at Nationals in Ottawa, and Natalie Wilkie is competing at the Para Nordic World Cup finals in Prince George. All the best to these fine athletes!

The backcountry continues to be fabulous! The Wenches and Geezers continue to explore far and wide.

Think snow!