Larch Hills junior racers skied to another impressive finish during the Teck BC Midget Championships.
The Larch Hills Junior Race Team attended the 2019 Teck BC Midget Championships Feb. 16-17 at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club near Vernon. The two-day event invited young athletes ages 9-12 from all over British Columbia to compete in three events. Saturday began with an interval start classic technique event, with all athletes going over the same two-kilometre course at 15 second intervals, with the fastest posted times winning the event. Of the 45 Larch Hills Nordic skiers that skied in the classic event, nine earned top five finishes.
For the relay races, each team consisted of four kids, two skiing classic technique over the 1.5km course, and the other two doing free-technique races. The course looped around the stadium and made it possible to cheer the athletes on. Teams were encouraged to wear costumes, and many of the team had full outfits and matching team names such as the Firebolts, Little Larchies’, Fast Fluffy Unicorns and the Rainbow Rockets. Two Larch Hills Teams placed in the top five for official boys’ and girls’ teams. Saturday’s events culminated in a banquet at the Priest Valley Arena, with music, a taco buffet and awards.
While the first day was a pleasant -6 C, day two looked like it would be much colder. Sunday morning a cold weather warning went out and ultimately the day’s event was delayed two hours until 11 a.m. The normal qualifier was skipped, and the previous days’ classic interval times were used to place athletes into heats.
Rather than an elimination type event, the Midget Championship uses a ‘king’s court’ style event where the various heats are shuffled based on the athletes rank in each round. This means that no skier was eliminated, and all athletes got to ski three times. The kids stayed warm under big coats and blankets and kept a positive feel to the event despite the -12 C temperature and bitterly cold winds. The 300-m sprint course was fast and did a figure eight in the Sovereign Lake Stadium around their overpass into the same finish area as in the previous races. Four Larch Hills skiers earned top five finishes in the freestyle sprints.
Midgets rewards participation, giving points for top finishers and participation towards an aggregate team trophy. Larch Hills won again this year, for the seventh time in a row. The Larch Hills Junior Race Team is hosting the next and final event in the Teck BC Cup Series on March 1-3 at the Larch Hills ski area.
Submitted by Brad Calkins.