As the trails at the Larch Hills cross-country ski area get their first dusting of snow, the expansion of the Larch Hills Chalet is taking shape.
The two-storey expansion has been raised on the south side of the existing chalet and matches its log-frame construction.
Once completed, the expansion will add another 2,400 square feet to the existing 1,200-square-foot chalet.
More north-facing windows will be added to the existing chalet, giving greater visibility over the start and finish lines of the Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet and other perennial Larch Hills Nordic Club events.
“This is where the action happens,” said Jim Beckner, a member of the Chalet Expansion Committee, gesturing at the area where the main cross-country trails intersect.
Beckner said that with the addition of a single large dormer to provide greater visibility from the second floor of the chalet, timing for the loppet and other races could be moved there.
The original chalet was constructed in 1984 and then moved to its current site with basement washrooms added in 2006. Heat for the original chalet is provided by a wood stove and electric baseboard heaters. The new addition will be heated by a wood-fired boiler across the parking lot which will also heat the caretaker’s house and track-setter shed.
Beckner said the old chalet was pushed to the limits of its capacity as there are hundreds of skiers on the trails on the weekends or when there are events held at Larch Hills.
The new addition will be filled with tables and chairs to act as a gathering place for skiers and other uses of the trails.
Beckner says he hopes the new addition will open up new uses for the chalet and trails. He mentioned weddings, conventions and summer sports such as horseback riding and mountain biking as possible uses.
“We’re hoping to see more year-round use.”
As ski season draws nearer, Beckner says the addition will have walls and a roof constructed by the time skiers are taking to the trails and completed once funds become available.
Fundraising efforts for the chalet expansion include various grant applications and the second annual Dancing With the Shuswap Stars Event.