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Arriving in Thunder Bay in 1975 as a member of the Canadian National Cross-Country Ski Team, Reijo had already enjoyed success at the national level and had competed in the 1974 World Cross-Country Skiing Championships in Falun, Sweden. Continuing to ski locally, he served as a source of inspiration for area skiers by winning 10 consecutive Thunder Bay titles, as well as provincial and national honours and competing at the 1976 Olympic Winter Games in Innsbruck, Austria.

Wanting a place to train, he blazed and groomed trails on his own land just outside of Thunder Bay. Through hard work and dedication this early trail system would grow into a world-class cross-country skiing facility known as the Lappe Nordic Ski Centre which opened in 1979. The facility is now home to over 11 kms of trails and boasts a membership of over 700.

As well as providing sporting opportunities for thousands of area skiers, both recreationally and for competitions, Lappe has hosted provincial and national events, and was the site of the 1990 Canada Cup World Junior Trials at which Reijo served as Chief of Race.

Serving as a coach for the Jackrabbit cross-country skiing program for many years, Reijo has passed along his exceptional knowledge about the sport of cross-country skiing to young skiers including Canadian champion Brook Latimer. Through his enthusiasm, dedication and love for the sport, Reijo has contributed greatly to the growth of cross-country skiing in northwestern Ontario.

Inducted into the Northwestern Ontario Sports Hall of Fame, September 25th, 1993

Reijo Puiras

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