Skiing is key to the Shuswap experience

“After several hours of slogging, the snow at Granite Peak lookout lay under the skis of Mamie Hill, Matt hill, and Yuri Maki. the year was 1938.” This Mamie Hill Reynolds photo appears in the book, “Fleeting Images.” Courtesy of Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village

The are many opportunities to ski in the Shuswap, including three tracked Nordic ski areas, backcountry ski options, three cat-skiing lodges, a downhill resort, a heli-ski lodge, and at any number of untracked logging roads, park trails or frozen lakes. Few people realize that a significant portion of Silver Star Mountain is in the Shuswap watershed, including approximately two-thirds of the Sovereign Lake trails and the backside runs at the resort in the Putnam Creek drainage.

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The sport where the stones slide to the house

Salmon Arm Curling Club, photo courtesy of the Salmon Arm Observer

The sport of curling, often described as “chess on ice,” is an ancient game that began 500 years ago in Scotland. In Canada and in the Shuswap, the sport’s popularity is likely due in part to the large number of Scottish immigrants who settled here. There are curling rinks in every incorporated Shuswap community, as well as in Falkland and although the number of players has decreased over time, the sport continues to bring many people of all ages together to have fun competing and exercising.

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Hockey is thriving throughout the Shuswap

Sicamous Eagles lost to the Chase Heat in Oct. 2019, photo by Rick Koch, courtesy of the Salmon Observer

It was a monumental community effort, but after a few failed referendums, the last one was successful once support funding was secured from two regional districts, and in 1999 the Art Holding Memorial Arena in Chase finally opened. Community support was key, as volunteers did much of the construction, along with local contractors who provided free services. This high level of community support continues as there are three organizations, the Chase Recreation Society, Chase Minor Hockey Association and the Chase Heat Junior Hockey Club keeping the arena busy every day from mid-day to late in the evening.

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The puck drops here

Photo courtesy of the Salmon Arm Observer

Mostly gone are the days when playing hockey meant strapping on the used skates, grabbing a wooden stick and heading down to the frozen pond or lake to play with friends. Today, hockey is almost always played in arenas and is highly organized, expensive and yet every bit as engaging, exciting and character building. Thanks to the dedication and commitment of a legion of volunteers that work with the Minor Hockey associations and generous local sponsors, hundreds of young people spend many hours on the ice practicing, playing games and participating in tournaments from September to April every season.

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The early days of hockey in the Shuswap

Lined up for a team photograph when hockey was a game, not a callous business, in Salmon Arm’s original arena. Circa 1914. From “Fleeting Images,” Courtesy of Douglas Ruth and the Salmon Arm Museum at R.J. Haney Heritage Village

Just as Canada could be deemed a hockey nation, so too is the sport so very popular here in the Shuswap. Throughout the season, many hundreds of players of all ages are on the ice in one of the region’s five arenas in Chase, Salmon Arm, Sicamous, Enderby and Lumby. The sport also has a rich local history complete with community teams, arenas and outdoor rinks, tournaments and championship awards that date back to the early days of settlement.

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North Shuswap lumberjacks extraordinaire

Carson Bischoff dong the final chopping in the Springboard competition

The large crowd gathered in Scotch Creek behind The Hub on the Canada Day weekend to watch this year’s Timber Day’s events were treated to two extraordinary opening acts. Jody Evans, who also produces the very successful logger’s show at Grouse Mtn. held every day of the week, performed his stunt high up on a “spar tree,” from which he “fell” while connected to a zip line and lumberjack extraordinaire, Carson Bischoff, “survived” when the outhouse “blew up!” The crowd loved the opening show and they were entranced for all the competition events that followed. Continue reading

Shuswap Lake boating pleasures

photo by Mike Simpson

The recent news that Shuswap Lake was voted this year’s top boating destination by Boating BC should come as no surprise for anyone who appreciates the lake. It is a well-deserved accolade given the lake’s many attributes, including its size, unique shape, clean water, warm summer temperatures, easy access, nearby hiking and biking trails and adjacent communities where there are many opportunities for arts, culture and sport.
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Four dedicated men on the soccer pitch

Thanks in large part to efforts of four teachers who emigrated here from Europe; Salmon Arm is a celebrated soccer community. At the peak twenty years ago, there were more players per capita in Salmon Arm than anywhere else in Canada. While these numbers are lower now, the popularity of the sport remains very high given the number of fields, players, and teams in Salmon Arm, plus the new Little Mountain field house and sports complex, the indoor facility in the old arena and the very active Shuswap Youth Soccer Association.

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Places to paddle in the Shuswap

Adams Lake

The tide is beginning to turn. Shuswap’s reputation as a mecca for high-speed, motorized aquatic recreation is slowly evolving into a destination for low-impact, sustainable, environmentally friendly, healthy paddling. The Shuswap Trail Alliance wants to encourage this transition by promoting what will be called “Blueways.” They hope to work with their partners to create a Blueways guidebook that will complement its popular trail guide and mesh with Secwepemc traditional values.
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The Haig-Brown Legacy

There is an effort underway to re-name Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park with a Secwepemc name. While it may be considered appropriate to recognize local First Nation’s over 9,000 years of life here with a name change, it would also be disrespectful to reject the contributions of one of BC’s most respected conservationists whose efforts led directly to the creation of the park. Although Haig-Brown passed away in 1976, his legacy carries on through the work of the Institute named for him that is based out of his well preserved home in Campbell River.

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