Mother Nature has interfered with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for several Comox Valley athletes.
“Three Provincial Sport Organizations have made the difficult decision to withdraw from the Lhtako Quesnel 2024 BC Winter Games from February 22-25 due to unfavourable snow conditions in the host community,” reads a statement on the BC Games website. “BC Alpine Ski, Freestyle BC, and BC Snowboard have withdrawn from the Games after extensive consultation with coaches and the BC Games Society.
“A lack of snowpack on the mountain at Troll Ski Resort and the absence of heavy snowfall in the forecast influenced the final decision. Mountain-based sports, already facing a difficult and shortened winter season, require significant snowpack and technical venue builds to run safe and meaningful competition.”
The affected athletes will not even attend the Games as spectators.
Comox alpine skiers Danica Williams and Charlie Yule, both Mount Washington Ski Club members, had their dreams of BC Winter Games gold dashed.
Williams, who has been skiing for 11 of her 13 years, said she was crushed when she got the word.
“I heard about it on Tuesday, after I got home from dance,” said the Mark Isfeld student. “I was very suspect, because this was my one chance to go, and I was really looking forward to it - the whole experience and all the people and stuff.”
“I was really looking forward to being there, seeing all the sports and having a fun time skiing,” said 13-year-old Yule, who has been skiing for eight years. “So it is pretty disappointing that we can’t go. I haven’t been a part of anything like that before.”
Both Yule and Williams were scheduled to perform in the slalom and the giant slalom.
Emily Boucher of Courtenay was also scheduled to attend the games, as a snowboarding coach.
Celeste Sharratt and Quinten Sharratt of Courtenay were both slated to compete in snowboarding, while freestyle skiers Cameron Thompson, of Comox, and Jack Thompson of Black Creek are also victims of the decision.
“Danica did not expect these ski events to take place, but to have the Games taken away from her, that’s what really hurts,” said Danica’s dad, Ryan Williams. “She was so looking forward to heading down to Nanaimo, getting on a plane with all the other athletes and the camaraderie that goes along with it.”
“It would have been so much fun to meet new kids and watch athletes play other sports and stuff.”
“They are planning a make-up event (at Apex Resort in Penticton) but it will be a ski-specific competition - no parade, no ceremonies, just the competition,” added Ryan.
“I will be going to that, so that will be fun - and I’ve qualified for provincials, so there is that too,” said Yule. “But the (BC Games) is more than just the skiing community… there are all the other sports as well. It would have been nice to see all the other competitors.”
Williams will be going to both Apex and Red Mountains as well.
“I’m just going to make (Apex) the best it can be, try and make it as close to BC Games as possible,” said Williams.
Biathlon and cross-country ski events will be carried out at the games, although there could be some format changes.
“Biathlon BC and Cross Country BC will attend the Games regardless of snow conditions,” said the BC Games statement. “Both are exploring modified scenarios for on-snow competition or dryland events. Nordic Provincial Sport Organizations will reach out to participants directly with updated programming and preparation instructions prior to travel to the Games.”