Snow Leopard welcomed back to our region

Mount Washington Alpine Resort will someday have a twin ski slope in Ghana.

KWAME NKRUMAH-ACHEAMPONG

Mount Washington Alpine Resort will someday have a twin ski slope in Ghana.

A dry one, that is.

This unlikely partnership resulted after Ghanaian athlete Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong, a.k.a. the Snow Leopard, trained at Mount Washington prior to competing at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Whistler. He was the lone representative of the West African nation.

Kwame, who has returned to Mount Washington for a winter training camp, purchased the land in Mamfe, an area of Ghana where the ski hill will be located, approximately 500 metres above sea level.

“The idea is that the ski slope should be free for kids under 16,” said Kwame, who placed 47th in slalom at the Olympics, pleased to defeat one opponent.

The 30-something Kwame had been an active runner, and played football and tennis in his homeland. He discovered skiing about seven years ago when he worked at an indoor winter sports arena in Britain.

“It’s something I started just for fun,” said Kwame, who launched the Ghana Winter Sports Association in the fall.

On Tuesday, he participated in a gift/cultural exchange with the K’ómoks First Nation and Mount Washington staff at the I-Hos Gallery. The event will appear on a CNN broadcast.

On behalf of the chief of the Mamfe people, Kwame presented band councillor Stewart Hardy with a traditional mamphiseet, or stool. It was a return gesture to the KFN, which had sent a paddle with Tourism Mount Washington co-ordinator Sarah Nicholson during a December visit to Ghana to announce the country’s ski team.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to twin the two traditional territories of the two mountains,” said Nicholson, who hopes to soon welcome at least one young Ghanaian athlete who will enjoy his or her first taste of snow.

“If we can make his (Kwame) dream come true, why not?” added resort president Peter Gibson. “It’s a great opportunity for youth to experience the mountain. Last year, people would say, ‘What’s going to happen post-Olympics?’ Well, here’s one great example.”

reporter@comoxvalleyrecord.com

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