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Founder of Lappe Ski Centre dies at 65

Reijo Puiras, local Olympian and founder of Lappe Ski Centre, passed away on Friday.
Reijo Puiras (

THUNDER BAY - Reijo Puiras, founder of the Lappe Ski Centre, peacefully passed away on Friday surrounded by his family.

A report from reads, "[Puiras] was renowned for his passion and dedication to the sport of cross-country skiing in Ontario."

Puiras' most notably competed in the 1976 Olympic Games, representing the country of Canada. He placed 56th in the men's 30 kilometre cross country race per

He first established the Lappe Ski Centre the year before. Since 1975, it has grown into a 5,000-square-foot chalet with waxing facilities, change rooms, showers, saunas and a full-service kitchen.

Puiras was inducted into the Thunder Bay Sports Hall of Fame in 1993. He was also the co-winner of the Dave Rees Award from Cross Country Canada in 2011.

"His amazing legacy will live on for many years to come," the report reads.

Funeral services for Puiras will be held on Friday, August 11, at the Hilldale Lutheran Church at 11:00 a.m.