Comox Valley athletes Darcy and Cassie Sharpe are preparing for their next big competitions – but in very different parts of the world.
Darcy was one of Canada’s slopestyle and big air athletes who attended one last progression camp in Whistler Blackcomb last week in preparation for the 2015 FIS Snowboard World Cup in Quebec City and Stoneham, the only domestic freestyle World Cup of the year.
“Young guns Tyler Nicholson, Darcy Sharpe, Mikey Ciccarelli and Jenna Blasman are ecstatic to compete in front of a home crowd at Stoneham,” a Snowboard Canada spokesperson said. “They will lead the pack as a number of Canada’s best freestyle athletes compete in slopestyle and big air.”
Sharpe won silver in the big air snowboard event at the 2015 FIS World Championships last month in Austria. “This young and highly talented group will more than likely find themselves atop World Cup podiums in Quebec City,” the spokesperson added.
The 2015 FIS Snowboard World Cup in Quebec City and Stoneham, which goes Feb. 19-22, has been a staple in the freestyle World Cup tour and has allowed Canada to develop and mature a large group of young talented freestyle athletes.
Meanwhile, Darcy’s sister Cassie is with the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association contingent that is off to a familiarization trip to South Korea. The trip is part of the four-year strategy instituted by the CFSA ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeonchang.
“We did something similar prior to Sochi and planned five trips between September 2010 and October 2013,” said David Mirota, High Performance Director. “These trips helped us shape our roles and approach to the 2014 Winter Games, which ultimately set us up with an optimal performance mindset.”
For this trip, slopestyle and halfpipe athletes who have not been to the Olympic Games and have demonstrated podium potential were targeted. Sharpe is one of three halfpipe snowboard athletes making the trip to South Korea between Feb. 14-19. She won silver in her event at last month’s FIS Ski and Snowboard Championships.
“Most of our athletes and coaches have never been to South Korea and some never to Asia,” added Mirota. “This trip provides an opportunity to get a real feel and understanding of the landscape and culture, without the pressure of having to compete and perform. Banking these experiences early in the Olympic cycle will provide that extra confidence for the team when we go back to Pyeongchang to compete at the World Cup test event and at the Olympic Games.”
Among the trip objectives will be to get an understanding of the freestyle skiing venue location and for the athletes to get use to a new environment.