By Julie Melanson
For The Morning Star
David Harbocian, coach of the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club, raced the Sovereign Lake Loppet with coloured hair, honoring a promise to his racers for good results in last week’s midget championships.
There was plenty of fun and frolics, in addition to personal records achieved, in the 35th Annual Loppet Saturday.
“This is my fastest race. I did under two hours,” said Barton Pietras, from Richmond.
Sherry Sandilands, a Sovereign Lake Nordic Club member, echoed Pietras’ comments. “My goal was to get under two hours once in my life, and to do five loppets once in my life, and I did, so now I can go play.
“I was worried this morning when I woke up and saw nine centimetres of fresh snow,” said Sandilands. “I thought it was going to be horrible and choppy, and really horrible on the hills, but it was wet enough that it packed and it was really fast.”
The freestyle loppet ‘citizens race’ format allows racers to choose between classic or skate skiing with distance options for all abilities. The bunnies, who are kids ages four to six, race the shortest distance of 2km. The next distance 4.5km includes the para-nordic category, then the options range from 10km, 15km to 30km.
Taking first place in the 30km race, Phil Villeneuve said, “It was great to come back to the Okanagan and participate in the Sovereign Lake Loppet – the Interior loppet series has a good group of competitive skiers that follow the circuit, so it was fun to go head to head with everyone on a fun course with fast conditions. All in all, it was a perfect day to spend on the trails.’’
Alex Lane chose to race on his classic skis.
“I pretty much only classic ski. I don’t enjoy skate skiing as much, so any chance I can to classic ski I do it. I did the full 30km.”
A loppet of this size runs with the help of nearly 70 volunteers.
Pat Pearce, the chair of the Sovereign Lake board, feels that there is an increase in members wanting to help out this year.
“People have come up today asking if they can help out.”
Christine Peckham explained that she has been a member of the club for years and usually races the loppet.
“This year I wasn’t racing so I thought I would help out.”
The loppet is open to racers of all calibres.