Skiers at Larch Hills near Salmon Arm aren’t able to stray far from the chalet and the nearby light once the sun goes down. (Photo contributed)

Shuswap ski area vies for $250,000 as top-four finalist in national contest

Help needed to accumulate votes or ‘clicks’ Friday, Oct. 18 through Sunday for trail lighting project

It’s been a thrilling weekend for members of the Shuswap’s Larch Hills Nordic Society and its supporters.

The Larch Hills Trail Lighting Project has been chosen one of four national finalists in the 2019 Kraft Heinz Project Play contest.

That means Larch Hills is one of four places – and the only one in B.C. – competing for a $250,000 top prize.

Supporters of the trail lighting project were asked to post written support and photos on the Community Rally Page of the Project Play website explaining why the project is so deserving.

Randi Ostby, a member of the Larch Hills Society Trail Lighting Committee who is organizing submissions, said the support has been amazing, with 256 nominations submitted on behalf on the local project.

Larch Hills ended up with the second-largest number of nominations Canada-wide, she said, once again showing the incredible community spirit in Salmon Arm and area.

Read more:Larch Hills Club wins Teck BC Cup trophy

Read more: Breathtaking Larch Hills Traverse sets scene for Shuswap trail run

Now more help from the community, and farther afield, is needed.

“We estimate that Larch Hills Nordic Society will need to receive well over 500,000 votes to have a chance at winning the grand prize and in order to do this we need your support…” says a post on the Nordics website. “In past years average voters have submitted over 200 votes in an hour and the fastest voters have submitted over 600 votes in that time!”

The grand prize winner will be determined through voting on the Kraft Heinz Project Play website. Voting will be tallied from 9 a.m. Pacific time on Friday, Oct. 18 to 9 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 20. According to the site, voters can vote as many times as they like but can’t use automatic programs or sign in from multiple e-mail addresses. (Apparently when Nakkertok Nordic won in 2016 one member voted 5,000 times.) Voters must be Canadian residents at least 13 years old.

The Nordics website has a few other suggestions for supporters. • Promote the campaign. Follow and share it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. • Join the Facebook Virtual Voting Event. Challenge others to beat your speed and number of votes.

Read more: Reino Keski-Salmi Loppet skiers take to the Larch Hills trails

Read more: Larch Hills Chalet expansion completed just in time for ski season

Ostby emphasizes that the project is good for Salmon Arm as a whole because it means more people would be able to use the ski area and, in turn, more people would come from outside the community as well, benefiting the economy. The eventual plan would be to have six kilometres of trails lit from 4 to 9 p.m. in the winter.

She notes that Larch Hills is one of the few ski areas in the province without lights – Vernon, Revelstoke, Kamloops, Kelowna, 100 Mile House and others all have them.

The final four entries were selected by a judging panel that evaluated each nomination based on these criteria: • the community project’s importance within the community, • how the prize money would be used and • the nominated community’s spirit and passion for play.

New this year was the consideration of rally points as well – measured by the number of stories submitted by a community, social media sharing, photograph or video additions, and reactions.

Salmon Arm is vying for the top spot along with the Twin Elm Rugby Park in Nepean, Ont.; Lanigan Swimming Pool in Lanigan, Sask; and Lamont Sports Park in Saugeen Shores, Ont.

One of the four entries will receive $250,000 while the other three will each get $25,000.

Over the past 10 years, Kraft Heinz Project Play has awarded nearly $3 million to 77 communities. In total, Kraft Heinz has supported 183 communities, contributing over $7.4 million to play-based infrastructure projects across Canada.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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Practice times for the Shuswap’s Larch Hills Ski Team are limited as the sun goes down about 4 p.m. in the winter. (Photo contributed)

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