The grounds of the Cariboo Ski Touring Club at Hallis Lake were filled with kids shuffling back and forth on a starting line this Saturday (Feb. 23), waiting for the signal to begin their cross-country skiing race.
With a fairly nasty wind blowing through, many parents and racers found refuge in the lodge nearby, refueling with warm beverages and enjoying the company of their friends and competitors.
The Hallis Lake Ski Tournament used to be called the Elementary School Races but has since invited teenagers to compete.
This was the 37th year for the event, and the snow conditions were great.
“We have perfect snow and perfect grooming,” race co-ordinator Sunshine Borsato said in between races. “We’ve had some years where we’re skiing on icy conditions or melting. We’ve skied this race in water, so today’s ideal.”
About 60 kids competed at the event.
Red Bluff Lhtako, Dragon Lake, Carson, Quesnel Junior School, Kersley, Correlieu, Riverview, St. Ann’s, Bouchie Lake, Barlow Creek, Lakeview as well as home-schooled kids and a contingent from Williams Lake took part.
“Our biggest years are closer to 100 kids, but I think the couple weeks of cold deterred a lot of racers,” said Borsato. “So it’s a little lower, but that’s OK. We’ll be back to 100 next year, but 60’s still great. It’s still a fun race.”
When asked what the kids like the most about it, Borsato deferred to Hayden Booth, 8, a Dragon Lake student who happened to be passing by.
“What do you think, Hayden,” she asked. “What do you love the most about this race? I heard hot chocolate…”
“No, it’s the skiing!,” he yelled at the top of his voice.
“Which course is your favourite?” Borsato followed up with.
“I don’t like the pancake course,” he responded quickly. “But the course I really like is up past the park and there’s a bit of downhill on it.”
Borsato laughed and said she had heard a lot of people say they like the hot chocolate.
“They do come and ski with their whole team, ” she added, pointing out the competition between the school as a motivating factor to perform.
“So just being out there they get points for their whole team for placing and participating and then the schools with the greatest number of points take home trophies.”
Red Bluff Lhtako finished first in the overall school group category with 187 points. Dragon Lake and Carson came in second and third with 160 and 104 points, respectively.