Tsalteshi Trails to host 'Wood, Wool and Wassail' family ski event

Vintage skiers, gear welcome

Posted: Friday, January 04, 2008

If you plan to ski the Tsalteshi Trail system at around 6 p.m. on today, your fellow skiers may look like they stepped off of a winter fashion plate from five decades ago. You didn't walk into a time warp and you haven't stumbled upon some 1950s reenactment, but you may be asked to join in some wassail at this year's "Wood, Wool and Wassail" holiday ski event.

The Tsalteshi Trails association is asking families to dust off their old wooden skis and fish their woolen knee socks out of the mothballs on Friday as it shows off the lighted trails and celebrates the season and the snow. The event will kick off with a tour of the lighted trails at 6 p.m. followed by a classic relay race at 7.

"It's a casual family event just to celebrate skiing and the trails," said Sara Hepner, Tsalteshi Trails Association treasurer and event organizer. "It's for people to use their oldest gear. Dressing in vintage attire adds to the atmosphere and fun."

Hepner said the event began last year as a way to kick off the Tsalteshi system's new lighted trails. A lot of people are able to ski in the evening thanks to the lights and often ask about them when the lights are out. She said the trails were first lit last October or November, but because there hasn't been a significant amount of snow until recently, the event had to wait until after the first of the year.

"The ski teams have been using the trail for weeks now even though the snow cover was bare," Hepner said, adding that the event will take on a holiday theme and just be a celebration for the trail system itself. "In the past week with heavier snows and better groomed trails, lots and lots of people have been using those trails."

The tour will take place on the Wolf and Moose trails, the two lit trails closest to Skyview High School. On the map, these are the blue and green trails. Hepner said the tour will be conducted in small groups and anyone who's interested should wear their skis or snowshoes. If an individual or group is unsure of the route, Hepner said the association will make sure they go with someone who is familiar with the system.

The relay race will be conducted in teams of three, and while she wouldn't say what the prize would be for the winners, Hepner said there will be bonus points awarded for folk using vintage gear or wearing vintage clothing.

"So you don't have to be the fastest," she said. "(Last year) the women were skiing in woolen skirts and the men had knickers and knee socks on. I don't know if we really had a pair of wooden skis last year, but we'll say we did and lots of wool sweaters of course."

While people are encouraged to wear vintage skis, Hepner said they aren't mandatory. Everyone is welcome to join in the fun and have a hot drink, even if the only skis they can find are the more modern kind.

"(People should come) to become familiar with the trails, to enjoy the camaraderie of other skiers and to show off their old gear," Hepner said. "Everybody is welcome."

Jessica Cejnar can be reached at jessica.cejnar@peninsulaclarion.com.

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