Avalanche City Roller Girls win Snow Valley Slam

After losing a preliminary match to Prince George, Fernie’s Avalanche City Roller Girls came back to win gold at the Snow Valley Slam.

On June 10, the Avalanche City Roller Girls hosted a four-team tournament called the Snow Valley Slam at Fernie Memorial Arena. Each participating team played three half games to determine rank.

In the preliminary games, Fernie easily defeated Jane Deere of the Calgary Roller Derby Association and Chilliwack’s NWO Roller Girls but were narrowly defeated by Prince George’s Rated PG Rollergirls.

Fernie came roaring back, defeating Prince George 172 to 140 to take home the Iron Fist, a trophy made specially for the tournament by Avalanche City Roller Girls’ coach Chad Grivell.

Grivell said it was amazing to watch his athletes pull off an exiting win in front of a home crowd.

“They’re dedicated and competitive and they don’t take it lightly,” he said. “It was awesome to see them come away with the victory. Banged and bruised they went for it.”

“It feels amazing,” said Avalanche City Roller Girl Andrea (Jenna Jammerson) Grenier. “I was a little bit nervous. Prince George was rated higher coming into this tournament and we knew they would be really tough competition for us.”

After the match, Ashley (Mizz Grizz) Decker, was named fan-favourite of the tournament.

“It was awesome because this was the first time we hosted this tournament and there were so many spectators,” she said. “It was amazing to hear them all cheering for me. It was just really humbling.”

Fernie’s Pamela Nevlud was named blocker of the tournament.

“It was nice to play a game that was so tough,” she said. “It was a close game the whole way and we definitely felt it. And to come back and win in front of the home crowd was really great. Everyone’s friends and family were here and it was great to get teams from so far away.”

Fernie’s Avalanche City Roller Girls have about 20 players and are one of the original four founding teams of the East Kootenay Roller Derby League.

Trish (Trip Vicious) Walker said it was a big feat to pull off the tournament with a limited number of volunteers.

“The community really supported us which was amazing,” she said.

“This last game we played made us all want to be better, so watch out because next year we’re going to kill it,” she added.

The Avalanche City Roller Girls have been red-hot since strapping on their helmets, roller skates and pads in 2011.

The team began formal competition in 2012 and were an undefeated 5-0 in 2013 before going on to take the EKRDL Championship Finals. That year they were seeded 82nd among Canadian “B” teams. They are now ranked in the top 25 of travel “A” teams.

Roller derby is a fairly complex pursuit. It evolved from sports entertainment in the 1930s to become, arguably, one of the most brutal and athletically challenging sports in the world.

Bouts are played with two teams of 14 players simultaneously skating on a circuit track. Each team chooses a scoring player, called a jammer, who scores points by lapping members of the other team. Other players called blockers are tasked with stopping the opposing jammer using hip checks and elbow jabs. Bouts are played in two 30-minute periods.