Out & About

SUNDAY, FEB. 6, 2011

Nordic skiers have solid Ray of hope

OUTSTANDING – Tim Ray may be the only person who’ll be losing sleep over the big Feb. 13 nordic skiing event at Mount Spokane.

When contacted, Ray, 56, emphasized that a long list of dedicated volunteers have helped put on the Spokane Langlauf 10K cross country ski race for more than 30 years.

Nobody’s saying he does it alone. But it’s hard to find anyone who’s done it for so long.

Ray founded Langlauf in the late 1970s. Except for a six-year hiatus, he’s had a major role. The event has become the region’s largest cross-country citizens race and perhaps the most gifted event in terms of sponsorships and prizes for all participants.

A volunteer nordic ski patroller, Ray’s been Langlauf’s race director for about 20 years.

Ray rides the snowcat with the State Park’s groomer operator the night before the event to help with any blowdowns and make sure the course route is on target.

Over the years, there’s been plenty of heartburn in the hours before hundreds of pumped-up skiers show at the starting line.

A 1980 race scheduled for Bear Lake had to be relocated the morning of the race after rain had erased the snow.

“I was driving the highway with a spray can painting arrows in the snow berms to direct skiers to the new course,” he said.

One year at Mount Spokane, the grooming snowcat broke down out on the trail. “We had to hike back in and go out on a snowmobile to finish grooming. We put cones around the snowcat so racers could sneak around it.”

An excellent nordic skier, Ray has rarely been able to enter Langlauf.

But then, how much fun could it be with no sleep?

“I meet with the groomer about 11 p.m. and we work all night before the race,” he said. “I might catch an hour of sleep before the race. But maybe not.

“If everything goes smoothly, I’m good for the whole day.”

‘American Commitment’ works for Buck Knives

OUTGROWTH – Two years after pledging to produce Buck Knives in the United States, the Post Falls-based company is renewing the commitment.

The decision was fairly easy, said C.J. Buck, president of the 108-year-old knife-making company. It’s been good for business.

“We found it has been effective in every way,” he said. “Most important, it has been our small way of helping reverse a growing trend to move jobs offshore…”

Buck said the company has been able to increase its Idaho work force during the period.

In 2010, the company employed 250 people in Post Falls and increased production 30 percent to build 1,235,121 knives, said company spokesman Tom Ables.

Buck said 93 percent of the company’s knives are built in Post Falls, including all of the knives made for hunting.

Dine for birds with CdA Audubon

OUTDO – If you have a love for birds, make time in your Valentine’s Day for the Coeur d’Alene Audubon Society’s Midwinter Banquet, Feb. 14, at the Greenbriar Inn, 315 Wallace Ave., in Coeur d’Alene.

Cost: $35. Reservations due by Monday to Coeur d’Alene Audubon, P.O. Box 361, Coeur d’Alene, ID 83816.

Have a raffle item to donate? Contact Eula Hickam at (208) 661-3228.


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