On Thursday morning March 29, freestyle skiing competitors woke up on Mount Washington to find that their competition venues were all buried beneath a deep blanket of snow.
Event chairperson Simon Stubbs and his organizing committee made a quick call to Mount Washington Alpine Resort staff to organize a plan to salvage the B.C. Freestyle Championships and rebuild the two venues needed for training and competition.
Stubbs said, “My heart sank when I looked out the window Thursday morning, all of our club’s hard work was gone. The resort equipment moved in and 20 minutes later we were groomed out and ready to start rebuilding our mogul course.”
Stubbs credits the hard work and skill of all the parents that were in attendance, by mid-morning the athletes were back on course training in preparation for Friday’s competition. “We worked like a well-oiled machine, a team of close to 40 parents were onsite, divided into three groups, and each group had their mission to accomplish,” Stubbs said.
Athletes representing all corners of British Columbia were in attendance for the championships. A total of 181 athletes registered for the three-day competition. Andi Naude from the Whistler Ski Academy was here to defend her title as the top female mogul skier in the province. Naude recently was crowned 2012 Grand Prix winner for the NorAm Freestyle Skiing series and made her first appearance in a World Cup Freestyle Mogul event in France two weeks ago, finishing 17th overall.
Connor Spence from Penticton (Apex Freestyle Club) was in attendance after returning to B.C. from Quebec on Monday morning after taking the gold medal in the Junior Men’s Single Moguls competition at the Junior National competition held at Le Relais near Quebec City. These athletes along with some local favouites, Peter Stubbs, Dean Robin, Mei Pond, Stewart Walker, Teal Harle, the Heard brothers (Todd, Riley and Max) and a host of other very talented athletes were on hand to entertain the crowds at Mount Washington.
Friday morning, course workers and mountain staff were back on the snow shortly after 7:30 a.m. and when the athletes arrived an hour later it was like some “magic wand” had transformed what looked to be a disaster the day before into two spectacular courses for the athletes to compete.
The Super Youth athletes, 12 years old and younger, competed Friday in single moguls and Saturday in slopestyle. The Youth and Up athletes competed Friday on the slopestyle course, Saturday in single moguls and finished the weekend off on Sunday with a dual mogul challenge.
Highlights of the weekend included 20 medals for Vancouver Island athletes. By Sunday afternoon Mei Pond from Nanaimo had a complete set: gold in slopestyle, silver in duals and bronze in moguls.
Todd Heard from Duncan earned three silver medals and Natasha Pegg earned three bronze medals also in the three event competition. Comox Valley resident and B.C Mogul Team member Peter Stubbs collected a silver medal in duals and a bronze medal in moguls. Mount Washington’s Stewart Walker earned a bronze medal in duals.
Super Youth athletes Kristin Gage of Campbell River and Elizabeth Watson of Courtenay swapped places in moguls and slopestyle events, each earning two medals. Kristin earned the gold in moguls and silver in slopestyle while Lizzy earned silver in moguls and gold in slopestyle.
Also from Campbell River, Erin Sketchley earned a gold medal in slopestyle. Finishing off in the Super Youth division Keaton Heisterman of Nanaimo earned two silver medals, one in moguls and one in slopestyle. His teammate James Dunn also from Nanaimo earned a bronze in slopestyle.
“Mt. Washington Freestyle Club would like to acknowledge all of the volunteers that worked so hard to make this event such a huge success. ‘You guys all rock,'”event chairman Simon Stubbs said. “Mount Washington Alpine Resort and their dedicated staff worked really hard to make this event for the Club become a reality. Every department on the mountain had an integral part in the success of this event and we look forward to hosting even bigger events here on Vancouver Island in the very near future.”
For more information on the Mt Washington Freestyle Ski Club, check out www.mwfc.ca.
– Mt. Washington Freestyle Club