Masters World Cup beckons locals

A lot of snow has passed under Charlie Bruce's skis since he attended Appalachian State in Boone, N.C.

But he's hoping to reconnect over the next week while at the Sparkling Hill 2011 Masters World Cup cross-country skiing event at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre near Vernon.

Bruce is one of six members of the Overlander Ski Club who will take part in the World Cup, an event for skiers ages 35 and older - the age divisions are in five-year increments - that has attracted 1,134 skiers from at least 13 countries.

While at Appalachian State, Bruce's cross-country running coach was a gentleman named Roger Gildersleeve, who is from Bend, Ore.

The two reconnected at the 1992 Masters World Cup in Anchorage and again at the 1995 event in Canmore, Alta.

"Roger will be in the 75-79 age group now," Bruce, who is in the 60-64 age group, said Tuesday. "I'm hoping to run into him there.

"This is a wonderful opportunity to meet people from all over the world."

Also in the Kamloops contingent are Frances and Alan Vyse, Ingrid and Bruce Mitchell, and Mike Stewart-Smith.

"We started dryland training at Kenna Cartwright Park and did that through October," Bruce stated. "This will be the fruits of our labours."

There isn't any qualifying process for the World Cup, which, as Bruce said, is all about "camaraderie."

The event begins Thursday with registration and official training sessions. The parade of athletes and opening ceremony is scheduled for Friday, 5 p.m.

There will be racing Saturday through March 11, although Tuesday is a rest day. As well, the annual Sovereign Lake Loppet is scheduled for March 12.

"It sounds like the organizing committee has done a real nice job," Bruce said. "There will be a lot of skiers and it should be a lot of fun."

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