If skiing the Hallis Lake Loppet conjures images of lycra-clad speed demons with competitive edge passing you over and over again – rest assured, this race can be a fun challenge for any skier.
It is a great opportunity to participate and try skiing a slightly longer distance than you may normally enjoy with the support of other participants, volunteers and juice stations.
Recreational distances including 5 km, 10 km and 16 km appeal to youth and less-competitive skiers who find the 32 km full distance too intimidating.
The key to enjoying any event is good preparation that will build ability and confidence to attempt a new challenge and consider including other friends who can train with you as well as participate on the day of the loppet – and no one said you couldn’t stop for a tea party along the trail!
Many training tools are available to prepare for a faster time or longer ski but for those who may want to comfortably complete a new distance, following a few simple tips will help skiers feel prepared and comfortable.
Take part in as many lessons as possible to improve technique. This makes skiing less work as the skier becomes more efficient and skilled.
Ski at least three times per week to improve balance and technique including one longer ski on weekends. The longer ski should build each week up to the loppet with the final distance being close to the expected loppet distance. Plan to ski the week before the loppet but short distances. This will help keep the skier limber and ready, practicing technique and learning waxing and clothing tips to stay warm and properly waxed for the day of the event.
For a skier interested in participating in his/her first 32 km during the loppet, be able to ski the 15 km plus the 7.5 km (combined) by Jan. 22, before the loppet, building on a base of regular 5 – 10-km skis during the week.
For the 16 km – the skier should able to ski the marathon loop (12 km) by Jan. 22, skiing 5 to 8 kms each outing during the week.
For 10 km, a skier should ski one to two times during the weeks leading up to the loppet with a long weekend ski being 5 – 7 km with the ability to ski the dog loop prior to the event.
The loppet does not need to be about racing but having fun at an organized event while being challenged by the course and other skiers who are equally enjoying their own race.
For more information on programs, lessons, workshops, ski tours, lodge rentals, socials and events, visit the club website at www.caribooski.ca.
Sunshine Borsato is vice-president with the Cariboo Ski Touring Club and an Observer contributor.