Black Jack skiers were well represented on the podium for the 30th annual Black Jack Ski Club Loppet on Saturday, Feb. 22 in Rossland.
About 80 competitors, from ages five to over 70 came from Rossland, Castlegar, Nelson, Hills, Kelowna, Salmon Arm, Spokane, Calgary and a few visiting from Ontario to ski the perfectly groomed trails of the hills north of the city.
The conditions were perfect, said Black Jack Ski Club member Wannes Luppens, as it was a bright sunny day, with fast snow and was not too cold.
Used as a training event for the Black Jack Ski Club members, the top finishers were still largely Black Jack skiers.
“The goal wasn't necessarily to ski it as fast as possible,” said Luppens. “Despite that, the fastest 30-kilometre time was David Palmer (Black Jack), with a time of 1:22:39.”
A loppet is a Scandinavian term for a great gathering of skiers who ski on a specifically groomed trail, either classic (diagonal stride) or free (skating technique) of various distances.
The fastest female of the day was Black Jack’s Kelly Geisheimer, with a time of 1:41:46.
In the senior men’s (age 20-29) 30-km free mass start, Palmer was followed by Julien Locke (1:23:05) and Kimberley’s Colin Ferrie (1:26:21).
In the boys, eight to nine three-kilometre distance Radek Krampl (Black Jack) was first with a time of 13:10, followed by Rohan Wink (13:59, Black Jack) and Johann Taylor-Gregg (14:11, Black Jack).
Three Black Jack skiers swept the top three in the girls division in the same age and distance class, with Abbey McLean (12:34), Ava Schleppe (19:58) and Emily Gardner (20:47) in the top three.
Charlotte Gibson was second in the bantam girls (10-11) five km with a time of 22:45, while Sabien Edney (Black Jack) was third with a 37:35.
Black Jack’s Evan Taylor was second in the bantam boys (10-11) five km with a time of 30:41.
In the masters men (30-39) 30 km class, three Black Jack skiers topped the field, with James Crossman (1:35:36), Matt Tonner (1:36:59) and Wannes Luppens (1:40:18).
In the masters men (40-49) 30 km class, Aaron Scott (Black Jack) took top spot with a 1:35:02, over Jason Rusu (Lifesport Calgary, 1:47:46) and Aric Bishop (Nelson Nordic, 1:52:06).
Black Jack’s Fred Bushell won the masters men (50-59) 30 km with a 1:40:48, while David Morel (Black Jack) was second in the masters men (60-69) 30 km with a 1:49:28.
It was “great to see a number of skiers sign up for the recreational 10 km as well,” said Luppens, with Black Jack’s Mark Merlo coming in second at 47:23, and Leigh Harrison third (Black Jack) at 47:26.
On the women’s side, Black Jack’s Lesley Beaton was first (38:08) while Kirsty Exner (Black Jack) was second with 40:31.
Volunteers had excellent snacks and chili ready for everyone after the Loppet. Special thanks went out to Fiona Mackay and her crew for organizing the event.
Full results are located at http://zone4.ca/results.asp?ID=6536&cat=all.