The Castlegar Nordic Ski Club held its 29th annual Troll Loppet on Sunday morning and had a record turnout for the 40 km course.
There were 149 skiers who showed up to participate in the fun cross country ski marathon, and a record 26 skiers who participated in the 40 km event.
Things kicked off around 1o a.m. Conrad Brattebo — the last living founding member of the club — was dressed in his viking costume and started skiers off with a swipe of his wooden sword.
Skiers came from all over the region, with participants from Castlegar, Robson, Trail, Rossland, Nelson, Grand Forks, Winlaw, Slocan and Salmo.
Participants ranged in age from 4 years old to too old to say, and there was a special 2 km course setup around Mud Lake for the youngest children.
“I think one of the really neat things is that you get the participation of the young kids,” said Audrey Andre, a volunteer at the event. “So you have the kids coming in, and learning how to do this and getting out in the fresh air.”
The event is completely volunteer run and involves a lot of preparation. Volunteers took care of registration, prizes and snacks for participants, among other things.
“The huge amount of work this year was the track setting, because [the snow] was steady. There were people out tracking away last night and early this morning to get everything in shape for this event,” said Kim Matson, event organizer.
The event is just for fun, and all participants take home a prize. Matson said that makes it the best time for skiers to try a longer run.
“It’s a good day to challenge yourself to do a long ski because the tracks are perfectly set, [and] there are juice and goodies for you,” she said.