Excellent ski conditions reported at successful Lamplighter Loppet

The tenth annual Lamplighter Loppet was again hosted by the Good Spirit Cross Country Ski Club on February 8.

The successful event had 60 skiers participating in the moonlit cross-country skiing, said Darryl Stevenson, club president

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“Fabulous temperatures with freshly groomed trails gave amazing glide conditions and, combined with enhancement of the very bright full moon, provided for a perfect evening ski,” said Stevenson. “This skiing experience remains the only night Loppet in Canada, bringing a special notoriety to our club and to the Good Spirit Provincial Park.”

A strong turnout from the Yorkton and Preeceville Nordic ski clubs added to loppet registrations. First time participants included 14 youth enthusiasts from the Yorkton Cross Country Bunny and Jackrabbit ski programs.

“These two youth groups are based in the Yorkton Ski Club which provides coaching to children in skiing skills and fundamentals,” said Stevenson. “It covers ages 3 to 5 years in the Bunny and 5 to 10 years in the Jackrabbit programs. Joanne Maloff of Yorkton is the group’s organizer with assistance from coaches Ray Bailey and Warren Popick of Yorkton.

At this year’s Lamplighter Loppet a wide range of age groups took part, with skiers from the age of three to participants in their seventies.

“Cheers to the eldest participant, Glen Galoway of Melfort, who has attended every Lamplighter Loppet in its ten-year history,” remarked Stevenson. “Galoway, although he in his mid seventies, also attended the Humboldt Loppet earlier in the day, a remarkable feat to accomplish at any age.”

“A family’s vehicle breakdown on their way to the loppet required local assistance from Cynthia and Ernie Gazdewich and tow truck. Thankfully their help enabled the family to arrive in time to enjoy the event festivities.”

A Loppet is not a race, but rather an event where participants are able to ski at their own pace and choose the distance they wish to cover.

The majority of the participants ventured up to the warmup shelter, making the round trip ski of 8 kms. However, some of the more experienced participants skied in excess of the 20 km trails, completing all of the ski trail loops available.

Stevenson said the club welcomed specials guests to this year’s event.

“Jason Grayston and Mark Bunney from the Regina Division of the Canadian Ski Patrol attended,” said Stevenson. “They had been conducting ski patrolling in the area during the day and were then able to attend our event. The duo also promoted the Sask Ski Patrol while enjoying an awesome night of skiing and fellowship, and we invited them to participate in future Lamplighter Loppets.”

The Loppet started with registration held at the Good Spirit Park Rec hall. Skiing began at 6 pm.

“For all skiers it is compulsory to use headlamps,” explained Stevenson. “Skiers are welcomed at the warmup shelter by lights along the trails, where they receive hot chocolate either in the shelter or around the bonfire. A mandatory return time to the recreation hall was set at 9:30 p.m. And upon return to the hall a hot chilli supper is awaiting the hungry group.”

Once supper was done participants were divided into four groups to compete in a variety of fun team relay games.

“The first game was to carry the straw held by your upper lip to your nose, then run to the table and place it into the cup,” said Stevenson. “The second game was a ping pong relay, with players standing side- by-side and using two plastic cups to transfer the balls down the line to the bucket.

“The next game, which became the most popular, was the potato relay. Competitors were required to place a potato between their legs, run to the bucket, and drop the potato into the bucket without using their hands. The participants surprisingly showed great energy in this game, in spite of everyone having skied earlier.

“The final game was a modified version of musical chairs with dancing to music in between the roll of the giant dice. Six chairs were numbered and placed around the outside of the dance floor. When the music stopped dancers had three seconds to pick a chair and stand by it.

“Anne Stupak of our club would then throw the dice and whichever number came up, that number of chair’s players were eliminated. The winner of the game, Marilyn Anaka of Melville took home the grand prize of a two night stay at a Yurt provided by the Good Spirit Provincial Park.”

Door prizes were the finale of the evening with many winning ski swag, buffs and gift cards.

The Wood Spirit Challenge was won by Vickie and Darryl Stevenson, finding four of the six wood spirit carvings, which had been placed along the ski trails at the start of the ski season.

Stevenson said the Lamplighter Loppet would not have been possible without the Good Spirit Provincial Park staff, and all the volunteers who looked after grooming trails, stringing lights, taking registration, providing the chilli supper, supplying hot chocolate at the warmup shelter and assisting in the games. Music was provided by Bob Purton.

Stupak, who organized the event, said, “We skied, breathing deeply the crisp clean air and taking in the crystal clear night. We were bathed in moonlight being warmed by the fire, sharing in the fellowship of such a perfect night ski!”

In general, Stevenson said the Good Spirit Cross-Country Ski Club is enjoying an excellent season despite a slow start due to an early lack of snow.

“Cub memberships online at Zone4.ca continue to come now that the weather is co-operating and complimented with near perfect ski trail conditions. An increase in guest sign-ins at the warmup shelter has been noted and hopefully these conditions continue for the remainder of the season,” he concluded.