Best time for skiing is right now
The Christmas-New Year’s crowds are gone, the days are already noticeably longer, and the best time for skiing, snowshoeing and other outdoor winter activities is here.
There are two winter dates that are noteworthy for the Sheriff. Dec. 21 is “turnaround day” aka the winter solstice or shortest day of the year. That’s when the sun turns around and heads back to the northern hemisphere. In practical terms, it is the start of another warm weather season since it is only going to get warmer from that date forward.
The other date is Jan. 1, the official start of a new calendar year. For many outdoor recreation lovers, it is a time to look ahead to the coming months and perhaps an unofficial New Year’s resolution to plan new adventures whether it’s exploring new crosscountry trails or more challenging downhill runs, or checking out a new cross-country ski area or downhill resort.
And then, planning new spring adventures from hiking to biking to kayaking to horseback riding to finally getting that motorcycle out of storage. A new year is full of possibilities and surprises. The excitement is already building.
After the challenging opening of Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club, the Sheriff and Constant Companion Carmen tried to make up for lost time with outings last Saturday and Monday.
We joined a dozen members of the Central Okanagan Outdoors Club on Saturday to check out one of our most popular cross-country loops — Riverside-Backcountry to the new cabin at the BackcountryBackcountry Connector junction.
And we joined hiking-bikingskiing buddies Lawrence and Maggie on Monday to check out new territory.
We parked at the Summit lot on Highway 33, then went up Thunder Mountain Trail to Backcountry. We usually head up Backcountry to Fletcher Challenge and to the Meadow Cabin but instead headed the opposite direction. It was a beautiful glide down, down, down three kilometres to the new cabin.
However, the Sheriff remembered what goes down must eventually go back up. Ol’ 33 — new territory for us — is parallel to blue Backcountry and up, up, up four blue switchbacks for 1.3 kilometres. It is definitely a difficult run when heading in that direction with a Steep Hill warning sign at the top. Then you are on a green trail 1.5 kilometres back to Thunder Mountain Trail. It was a fun workout but not recommended for weekends when more skiers will be heading in the other direction.
On Tuesday, COOC downhillers hit Silver Star Mountain Resort in the North Okanagan. Fresh light powder overnight – 13 centimetres at –11.7 C — meant groomed runs were beautiful and soft, and tree skiing unbelievable for those who brought their wide boards.
The Sheriff recommends checking the grooming reports while you eat an early breakfast. Fresh snow represents an opportunity to get first tracks in the powder. And the soft snow gets piled up by ski and snowboard edges later in the day.
The new Des Schumann Gondola is an engineering marvel, protecting you from any wind and allowing discussions among up to eight people on the best runs that day. Light snow began to fall Tuesday afternoon, wiping out earlier tracks and promising another powder day on Wednesday. Can’t wait to get back and check out more runs next week.
The Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club has teamed up with the Central Okanagan Outdoors Club to offer trail familiarization and ski tip days twice a week, especially for new members of Kelowna Nordic.
Tips and Trails starts on Sunday when Lisa Howard will lead a group of beginners and intermediate skiers around some of the trails while offering ski tips. On Wednesdays, the leader will be Marshall Moleschi of the Central Okanagan Outdoors Club. Sunday and Wednesday outings will continue for the next month to gauge interest.
Those who want to carpool or meet in Kelowna should be at the Apple Bowl on Burtch Road at 9 a.m. or Rutland Lions Park at 203 – 321 Pemberton Rd. at 9:15 a.m. You can also meet the group at the main cabin on McCulloch Road at 10 a.m.
Kelowna Nordic has numerous new members as a result of a membership drive. Learning more about the trails as a newcomer can be intimidating so this joint effort represents a great opportunity to learn more about the trails, how to ski and to meet likeminded outdoor lovers.
***** Telemark Nordic Club in West Kelowna wants to educate people about its ski area and programs, and is welcoming everyone to its 33rd annual Kelowna Apple Loppet cross-country ski race on Sunday as a lead-up to the 2019 Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Champion-ships that it will host on Feb. 8-10.
“Registration includes a fantastic lunch provided by award-winning Waterfront Wines Catering, top-three prizes for every 10-year age group and every youth category, plus a ‘race-within-a-race’ special award for fastest male and fastest female on each of a timed hillclimb and timed downhill run,” said board member Leslie Manders. You can register online at zone4.ca.
“Never participated in a crosscountry ski race before? No problem. There is a 7.5-kilometre recreational skier category and shorter courses for young firsttimers as young as three years old. If you are looking for more of a challenge, there is a 30-kilometre skiathlon which can be raced individually or as a two-person relay.”
Mike Edwards, Telemark’s new general manager, said: “I am really looking forward to experiencing my first Apple Loppet with the club. Everyone tells me how much fun they have. New this year is a Special Olympics category.”
The West Kelowna club is encouraging everyone to discover cross-country skiing and snowshoeing at Telemark.
“We have over 50 kilometres of professionally groomed crosscountry ski trails for skate and classic skiing for beginner and experienced skiers, including several lighted trails for night skiing,” said Manders.
“We also have 60 kilometres of stunning snowshoe trails that wind through quiet, pristine ponderosa and cedar forests, and provide breathtaking views. Never skied or snowshoed before? Telemark Nordic Club offers rentals, and lessons for children and adults alike.”
For more information, go to telemarknordic.com, contact general manager Mike Edwards at 250-7075925 or email mike.ed[email protected]marknordic.com.
Once again, Kristy Lovig is coaching the Sun Run InTraining Program starting Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Kinsmen Fieldhouse, located at the Mission Sports Fields directly behind the H20 Centre at Lexington Street and Gordon Drive in Kelowna.
SportMedBC, in partnership with the Vancouver Sun, co-ordinates the InTraining clinics at more than 65 locations. The aim of the clinics is to motivate and assist new runners and walkers to take part in the Vancouver Sun Run on April 14 through participation in a 13-week graduated training program.
“The clinic typically attracts 70-plus participants in Kelowna, which provides a great training environment, full of support and camaraderie as you work towards your goal of completing the Sun Run,” said Lovig.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone who would like to learn to run and participate in the Vancouver Sun Run (10 km).”
Lovig removes the intimidation factor by easing participants into running through a graduated walk/run program. In fact, you’ll be walking more than you run in the earlier weeks of the program. It’s her objective to ensure that you reach your goal injury-free while actually enjoying yourself.
The Run Stronger program is back this year, providing various levels of workouts for returning participants, or those looking to improve on their 10K time.
Walkers are welcome, she said, noting there is a specific program geared towards those who aim to walk the Sun Run course.
The cost for the 13-week clinic is $150. Register by phone at 250-4698800 or online at Kelowna.ca/ recreation (barcode: 12644).
Arion Therapeutic Farm at 2457 Saucier Rd. in East Kelowna is hosting two vegan community potlucks a month. Participants meet at the Creative Centre overlooking the farm’s llamas and goats at 5 p.m. today.
They are bringing their favourite vegan dishes, sharing recipes and healthy living tips, and making new friends, all while enjoying Arion’s scenic farm setting. The dinner starts at 5:30 p.m.
Those interested in attending the next dinner should email ariontherapeutic[email protected] and let the farm know what you are bringing.
Big White Ski Resort’s Junior Chef Challenge is inspiring the next generation of culinary talent.
The next chef to keep an eye on at Big White is just 12 years old. Kelowna-based Raajin Hoonjan beat 21 other aspiring young chefs, including his 10-year-old sister, Giann, at the Junior Chef Challenge on Dec. 28 presented by the Family Channel and hosted by Happy Valley’s executive chef, Boddie Macklin-Shaw.
“It’s an amazing new direction in our partnership with the Family Channel that combines interest in culinary achievement with fun family entertainment,” said Trevor Hanna, the resort’s vice-president of hospitality. “These kids leave the challenge with life skills and an appreciation for the culinary arts they’ll carry on in the future.”
The Junior Chef Challenge is part of Big White’s partnership with DHX Television’s Family Channel. Since October 2015, DHX and Big White have worked together to organize fun, familyfriendly activities.
“We are thrilled about our continued partnership with Big White Ski Resort,” said a DHX spokesperson.
There will be five more Junior Chef Challenges throughout 2019 with the next one on Jan. 18. Sign up at the Concierge Desk.
One of the wonderful characteristics of the popular Backcountry Trail at Kelowna Nordic Ski and Snowshoe Club is the panoramic view, above, as you head toward a new cabin. The cabin has a woodstove with wood stacked outside and an outhouse nearby.