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Colourful characters at first-ever Phoenix Loppet

Dozens light up Marshall Lake trails with costumes, good times
While the Phoenix Nordic Ski Loppet was a fun and causal affair, winners were still chosen and given trophies and gifts. Pictured here are Best Costume winner Lila Slatnik, nine-kilometre winner Jennifer Bressler and three-kilometre winner Lizzy Kaempffer.

The slopes and trails around Marshall Lake were alive with colourful characters zipping along the cross-country ski trails as the inaugural Phoenix Loppet got underway on Sunday morning.

Around 30 people clipped on skis, with about half also suiting up in outlandish costumes, to race for prizes in half-kilometre, one-kilometre, three-kilometre, six-kilometre and nine-kilometre races.

There was also a prize for best costume, which went to Lila Slatnik.

Loppets are usually a tradition in cross-country skiing, with people racing in various timed distance races and ranging in skill from casual to Olympians, but the Phoenix Cross-Country Ski Society has never hosted one, explained Tristan Sjodan, event organizer and youth coach and board treasurer. Knowing few people are aware of what a loppet is, they decided to host one this year and keep it fun and casual, with an emphasis on participation.

The winners are:

Half-kilometre: Sloane Fostedt

One-kilometre: Marcus Graham

Three-kilometre: Lizzy Kaempffer

Six-kilometre: Ken Soroka

Nine-kilometre: Jennifer Bressler

The plan is to host a bigger one next year, Sjoden said, attracting clubs and skiers from across B.C. and Canada.

Photos by Karen McKinley

Style was just as important as skiing ability, with participants encouraged to dress up. Lila Slatnik was channeling a snow fairy with glittering wings.
Arguably the most noticeable costume was worn by Ben Stevens, who climbed into an inflatable dinosaur costume.
Unfortunately, his costume sprung a leak and he had to finish with half of it tied around his waist, but saw his son Owen Stevens across the finish line.
Marcus Graham flies over the finish line, easily winning the one-kilometre race with a time of six minutes, thirty-one seconds.
All racers in all distance categories had a mass start before splitting up to get on their respective trails.
Harjot Kenra, left, and Natalie Sjoden were cheered on as they crossed the finish line.
Max Graham was not far behind his brother, Marcus, in the one-kilometre race with time of seven minutes, thirty-five seconds, but was one frosty cookie by the time he made it.

About the Author: Karen McKinley

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