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Larch Hills skiers take Loppet titles

More than 200 participate in annual Sovereign Lake Loppet

Skiers came from the Yukon, Ontario, Texas, and Australia to compete in the annual Sovereign Lake Loppet, but the male and female winners both came from the Larch Hills ski club in nearby Salmon Arm.

Thomas Hardy tuned up for the national finals starting Thursday in Canmore, Alta. by winning the men’s 30-kilometre race in one hour and 21 minutes, well ahead of the next skier.

“I just went out for an easy 30 k, didn’t want to go too hard and blow myself up,” said Hardy at the finish.

Abigail May was the fastest woman over 30-km. Not satisfied with having coached Hardy earlier in his career, she took time to school some of her male club members on tactics. After skiing the first 29-km with two Larch Hills men, she left them behind on the final hill.

Asked what advice she would give the men, she laughed and said, “I’d say thanks for pulling me along and skiing with me, but yeah, you gotta work up on those uphills.”

A total of 240 skiers came out to enjoy the sunshine and a dusting of fresh snow overnight, representing 25 ski clubs, five provinces, two territories, and three countries. The smallest children skied a two-km course, older children did 10-km, and the adults chose between 15- and 30-km.

When you think of cross country skiing, you probably don’t think of Houston, Texas, but that is where the Curtis family formed the Texas Nordic ski club.

“Last year was our first time to do the loppet. Our friends from Calgary recommended we come over here, we tried it and loved it,” said Chris Curtis, as his family soaked up some sun and satisfaction at the finish line. “Hopefully, it’s going to be an annual tradition.”