The exposed skin on her face frostbitten and her scarf covered in ice, Patty Tetreault was the first to cross the finish line during Sunday’s Cosmo Classic Loppet.
Although an experienced cross-country skier, the early finish wasn’t indicative of a quick run, but because about four kilometres in, volunteers turned her around out of concern about her frostbite.
“It’s just too bad it’s cold, because it’s a beautiful trail,” the Prince Albert Ski Club member said. “The trails are in wonderful condition with all the snow we’ve got.”
The annual Cosmo Classic Loppet was cancelled last year due to a lack of snow.
This certainly wasn’t the case this year, Prince Albert Ski Club member Lynn Phaneuf said, though it was a shame to have seen temperatures dip so low.
“We still have a lot of brave souls, though,” he said, citing about 35 participants in this year’s event.
“We had all ages, and they told me they had somebody as far away as Winnipeg.”
Although the first person to cross the finish line was a little worse for wear, the second to finish, Cosmopolitan Club member Wayne Serfas, glided across with a smile on his face -- granted, his cheeks were also rosy and his beard was covered in ice.
It isn’t as bad once you got out of the wind, Mervyn Sutton said after he crossed the finish line.
Finishing with fellow Cosmopolitan Club member Bill Allen, the two celebrated a high-five as soon as they’d crossed, after completing a 6.4-kilometre trail.
Other participants skied as far as 30 kilometres -- “Not us,” Sutton said with a laugh, referencing the cold weather.
It’s just too bad it’s cold, because it’s a beautiful trail. - Patty Tetreault
A partnership between the Prince Albert Ski Club and the Cosmopolitan Club, Sunday’s event raised money for the Cosmopolitan Diabetes Foundation in Prince Albert, though by press time on Sunday a final fundraising total had yet to be calculated.
Although skiing conditions weren’t ideal, the trails certainly were, Tetreault said -- not that skiers would necessarily benefit.
“Because it’s so cold out, the glide is very limited, so it’s quite slow, today,” she explained.
“When it’s cold the snow crystals tend to be sharper, so there’s a lot of friction on the bottom of the ski. (In) warmer temperatures, the snow tends to flatten out and you can glide much longer.”
With all their trails stretching throughout Little Red River Park and north in “excellent” condition, Phaneuf credits the hard work of the Prince Albert Ski Club’s many volunteers.
“Volunteers track the trails, and they do a really, really good job. If it snows, they’re out tracking the trail,” he said.
With ATVs and snowmobiles a constant challenge, volunteers are always on-hand to repair damaged trails, he said, noting that there was plenty of work in getting the trails ready for Sunday’s event.
The club of almost 300 people have a website, online at www.paskiclub.ca, where they post updated trail conditions on an ongoing basis.