Passing of a ski legend – Reijo Puiras

    August 5, 2017

    The cross country ski community is profoundly saddened by the passing away of Reijo Puiras, founder of Lappe Nordic Ski Centre and a legend in the Thunder Bay ski community.

    On behalf of the entire Nordic family, Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada would like to extend its deepest condolences to Reijo Puiras’ family, friends and countless comrades within our ski community.

    Reijo’s commitment to cross country skiing began as an athlete. As a member of the Canadian National Team from 1974 to 1987, Reijo competed in the 1976 Olympics and the 1974 Falun World Championships. Winner of 9 National medals, Reijo also dominated locally skiing locally in Thunder Bay winning 10 consecutive City Championships. Reijo was inducted into the NWO Sports Hall of Fame in 1993 as a builder.

     

    Photo Credit: Martin Kaiser

    As well as providing sporting opportunities for thousands of area skiers, both recreationally and for competitions, Lappe Ski Centre and the Lappe Ski Club has hosted local, provincial and national events and most recently was the site of the 2015 Ski Nationals and the 2013 World Junior/U23 Trials. In 1995, Lappe Nordic Ski Centre hosted a ‘citizen race’ during the World Nordic Ski Championships with many athletes from national teams competing for the prize money.

    In 1975, Reijo began cutting trails on his property in Lappe, just west of Thunder Bay. He shared his trails with training partners and for 38 years, the entire ski community. Eventually they outgrew the original 3 km and in 1979, Reijo founded the Lappe Nordic Ski Centre. The trail system has grown to over 14 km with 7km lit for night skiing. In 1986, the present day chalet complete with saunas, showers and kitchen was added.


    Photo Credit: Martin Kaiser

    Reijo’s touch has extended far beyond the Thunder Bay area. Reijo has provided the entire Canadian ski community a world class facility for our enjoyment. Racing was always his passion, and the Ski Centre has had multiple improvements over the years to enhance and improve the race facility. He has mentored race organizers and officials in the Thunder Bay area. His commitment to excellence is evident in his attention to detail during a race. During the ski season, the grooming at Lappe is second to none. Reijo played a leadership role in each and every major race hosted at the ski centre and is the grandfather of the ‘Lappe.

    As the Lappe Ski Centre celebrated its 38th year of operation this past season, many have been touched by the generosity of Reijo and his family. The local and national ski community has been so very fortunate to have a man of such passion and generosity.

    Reijo’s touch has extended far beyond the Thunder Bay area. Reijo has provided the entire Canadian ski community a world class facility for our enjoyment. Racing was always his passion, and the Ski Centre has had multiple improvements over the years to enhance and improve the race facility. He has mentored race organizers and officials in the Thunder Bay area. His commitment to excellence is evident in his attention to detail during a race. During the ski season, the grooming at Lappe is second to none. Reijo played a leadership role in each and every major race hosted at the ski centre and is the grandfather of the ‘Lappe.

    As the Lappe Ski Centre celebrated its 38th year of operation this past season, many have been touched by the generosity of Reijo and his family. The local and national ski community has been so very fortunate to have a man of such passion and generosity.

    Our heartfelt condolences to Tuija, Timo, Susannah and the extended Puiras family on your loss.

    Reijo is Chief ‘of course’


    Funeral services will be held on Friday, August 11 at 11am at Hilldale Lutheran Church, 321 Hilldale Rd, Thunder Bay, ON. Online condolences at www.sargentandson.com.