Vancouver Skiers in the Kamloops Region: Stake Lake and Sun Peaks

A full International Stage Lines busload of Vancouver Skiers with Orville at the helm left Vancouver’s mild, foggy condition for the snowy interior on January 9, 2015.

Getting ready for Stake Lake

Getting ready for Stake Lake

We arrived at Stake Lake, 25 kilometers south of Kamloops to enjoy over three hours of expertly-groomed and track set conditions.  With an elevation between 1270 and 1410 meters, Stake Lake has sixty kilometers of skate and classic trails, and thirteen kilometers of snowshoe trails (five kilometers for dogs and their well-trained owners).

The Day Lodge has an adjacent flush toilet facility this year, anticipating the Canadian Masters National Cross Country Championships, the week of February 9-14, hosted by Overlander Ski Club. We munched lunches in the  cozy day lodge.

Pat and Eric know how to live!

Pat and Eric know how to live!

On the road again, we stopped in Kamloops to stock up our kitchenettes, part of the Coast Sundance mini- fridge-microwave-2-burner cook top-coffee maker-pots-utensils package.  In addition, some soaked up the hot-tub ambiance before dinner—in or out, at cafe, bistro, bar & grill, deli, pizza, steak house, and Japanese/Italian/Mexican options.  Carbo-loading primed us for Saturday’s Sun Peaks’ snow conditions which were good after the previous week’s 45-centimeter snow-dump.

Trails are a five-minute walk from the hotel (over the covered bridge) and after a warm-up, we deliberate… to go up or circuit around?  The ‘up’ option is via the Morrisey Express chair to gain 1260 vertical meters, up to where the views elicit ‘Holy Cow’s, and ticket holders may enjoy it twice on a one-day ticket.   Up above the fog was a world-class exhibit of crystalline sculpture.  Nature’s wizardry.

snow sculptures, Sun Peaks trails

snow sculptures, Sun Peaks trails

The circuitous option is via the Nordic Centre.  Maps, trail reports and tickets are available there (although we got ours next to the hotel) for the 31 kilometers of groomed, track set trails: green, blue and black, circling around the 1403-meter McGillivray Lake Outpost, named after Archie McGillivray, a nineteenth-century rancher, whose outpost still has wood-burning stove with benches and tables where bunks once reposed cowboys sore from the saddle…nowadays, a place for skiers to warm up and share stories.

Isn't  this fire great?  left to right: Diane, Roy, Brian

Isn’t this fire great? left to right: Diane, Roy, Brian

Back at the ranch, err, back to the Sundance corral, err, we had a dry-tee-shirt contest to contest, with PhD judges, Mo Iqbal and Diane Fast, tying down skiers who could earn their spurs by telling-all  by the shirt they don.   The event and trip hostess, Vicki Ulibarri steered, err stirred, shirt-riveting attention from fore and aft.  In her words, ‘It’s a shirt that transforms the wearer.’

Terri and Dave are rivetted by a transformed trip leader aka Vicki

Terri and Dave are riveted by  transformed trip leader aka Vicki

Sunday was event day.  What event, you may well ask.  Was it the monthly Full Moon Nordic Ski and Fondue at McGillivray Lake Log Cabin?  Nope, that’s at night with a bit of star-gazing thrown into the guided mix.

Was it the Sun Peaks Winter Okanagan Wine Fest, one of the best winter parties in Canada?  Nope.  That’s next week, Jan. 16-25th.

Was it the Holy Cow Loppet?  Nope, that’s March 7th, 2015, starting at the top of Morrisey Express.

Sunday’s event was the Sun Peaks Nordic Club annual Kookaburra Loppet.  Vancouver Skiers, Ross Nichol and Roz Scarnell (R-squared) did the 30-kilometer event.

Roz and Ross (R-squared) re-waxing on their 2nd lap, and still fresh

Roz and Ross (R-squared) re-waxing on their 2nd lap, and still fresh

Kids raced the two and five-kilometer distances, with a fifteen (one looper) in either classic or skate technique.  Yee-haw, Ross & Roz.  Way to double lasso the course!

I’m thankful that I left my lunch on the bus and opted for a Bolacco Caffe tuna salad sandwich with steamed milk, home-baking and Conrad’s ‘How are you?’ and ‘Would you like caramel on that?’ and ‘Cinnamon makes it much better.’

Hard at work in the Bolacco Caffe: Conrad and his wife, the patisserie chef!

Hard at work in the Bolacco Caffe: Conrad and his wife, the patisserie chef!

A sweet end to a sweet weekend.

We thank Vicki Ulibarri and Berni Koppe for their trip-hosting know-how (t-h k-h or PhDs), their senses of humour and fun movie selection (‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’).  Thanks, too, for a smooth drive home from our gold-star driver, Orville, and gold-star touring chair, Paul Trantina.

End of our day at Sun Peaks left to right: Daniel, Christine, Susan, Ross

End of our day at Sun Peaks left to right: Daniel, Christine, Susan, Ross

Will we ever get out of this couch? left to right:  Ken, Elizabeth, Alex

Will we ever get out of this couch? left to right: Ken, Elizabeth, Alex

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Rita’s snow-crystal composition

 

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Rita Buchwitz captured these two plant sculptures at the top of Mt. Morrissey…

 

What fun we had! left to right:  Elena, Helen, Eda

What fun we had! left to right: Elena, Helen, Eda

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