The Castlegar Nordic Ski Club hosted it’s 29th annual Fun Troll Loppet last Sunday and the turnout, yet again, set a record high.
Each consecutive year more and more participants come out for the cross-country ski marathon and this outing saw 40 more entrants, totaling 154. One organizer, Kim Matson said, “People are getting to know about the event outside this region.”
The furthest someone traveled this year was from New Brunswick, she added.
Sunday’s event — held at the Viking Centre near Nancy Greene — was not a race, but rather a participation event where riders could take their time and go at their own pace. Skiers had several options when it came to course length; 2, 8, 10, 16, 20, 30 or 40 kilometers.
The one remaining member of the original Sons of Norway ski club, Conrad Brattebo, was on hand as the Troll himself. The Sons of Norway were the original founders of the Castlegar Nordic Ski Club in 1961. The name was later changed but the club kept the Norwegian influence including the Troll.
Brattebo had on his horned hat, sword and big beard for the event, with only his eyes showing underneath it all. It was his eyes that gave away his passion for the Loppet. They shone brightly with excitement as he recounted the events since the original meeting.
Pride was heavy in his voice as he told about the first meetings of the club he and his friends created many years ago to the rebuilding of the Viking Centre after the first was burned down.
Brattebo described his fellow members as family, just like someone’s brother or sister, “That’s what it was to me. A big family.”
Brattebo is ecstatic about the growth rate the event experiences each year and assured, “I’ll be doing this for the next ten years, maybe 15 years, and I’m 80 right now,” he laughed.