There’s a decidedly Comox/Courtenay connection with the first B.C. athlete to win a medal at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George.
Elena Gaskell, 13, won gold in slopestyle freestyle skiing on the first day of competition on Saturday and followed that up with another gold in big air on Sunday.
Gaskell has a number of relatives in the Valley including her grandmother Carol (Geneau) in Comox, her great grandmother Dorothy Branch in Comox, and her maternal grandparents who live in Courtenay.
Her father Ken Gaskell graduated from G.P. Vanier high school in Courtenay while her mother Holly (Carlyle) attended Highland high school in Comox. All of her aunts and uncles live in Courtenay.
Elena lives with her mom and dad and older brother Josiah in Vernon, where she was born, and calls Silver Star her home mountain.
“I was so happy to win gold and I am so proud, I can’t wipe the smile off my face,” said Gaskell. “I got down my first run and I felt really confident. It is such a privilege to represent B.C.”
Gaskell said her mental preparation and her home mountain of Silver Star helped her get to the podium.
“I imagine going through event part of my run and get ready for it before my race,” she said. “A big part of my success today is due to my training though, I have to say thank you to Silver Star for all the support.”
Her step grandfather John Ferguson says Gaskell was the youngest freestyle skiing competitor at the Games. Gaskell has skied in the Comox Valley and was a medal winner two years in a row at Mount Washington Alpine Resort in March, Ferguson said.
“These two – so far – medals in the Winter Games supercede those accomplishments by being in open company and versus very tough competition from across Canada,” Ferguson said.
“There’s lots of proud people running around Courtenay/Comox this week with very high hopes for the future of this little dynamo!”
Team BC has a delegation of 348 athletes, coaches, managers, and mission staff (including apprentice snowboard coach Kim Leming of the Comox Valley) at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George (Feb. 13 to March 1).
Team BC athletes are the best young developing talent in this province and are our future national and international champions. Team BC alumni include Dan Hamhuis (Hockey), Kelsey Serwa (Ski Cross) and Bo Hedges (Wheelchair Basketball). Visit Teambc.org for the latest news and updates.