Over the weekend, Fernie Alpine Resort (FAR) was host to the second stop on the Resorts of the Canadian Rockies Jeep Junior Freeski series. The event was also the second of four International Freeskiers and Snowboarders Association (IFSA) National Events in Canada. Over 100 skiers were in the qualifying rounds that took place on Saturday and the finals were held for those who made it through on Sunday. There were four categories that were separated by gender and age, the girls aged 12-14 had 19 skiers, girls aged 15-18 had 14 representatives and boys aged 12-14 had 36, while boys aged 15-18 had 40 skiers.
The Fernie Big Mountain Team or the Fernie Freestyle Team represented Fernie in every category.
“[We had] 23 competitors from home clubs, There was a strong showing from Fernie team members with Claire McPherson coming in 2nd in the Girls 12-14 Category and Tyler Stack coming in 1st in the Boys 12-14 age category,” said Jeni Sugiyama, Fernie Alpine Resort Events Coordinator.
The hills conditions leading up to the event were like spring-skiing so the qualifiers that were supposed to happen over two days was consolidated to one.
“Snow conditions were a little hard packed on Friday so we postponed the qualifiers to Saturday; knowing there was snow in the forecast. With the help of the Griz and the Fernie Factor the 35cm of fresh snow on Friday night meant the conditions were fantastic for the Qualifiers on Saturday and Finals on Sunday,” said Sugiyama.
Competitors were happy to see fresh snow and had fun at the event.
“We had good feedback from the competitors and of course having fresh powder always helps,” said Sugiyama.
The event is one of Sugiyama’s favorites because the competitors share their love for skiing with one another.
“This event is one of our favourites. Freeski events are unique in the fact that there is a great camaraderie amongst competitors. They wait at the bottom of the venue to cheer other competitors on and celebrate with each other in the finish coral,” said Sugiyama. “It's always great to see the smiles on the kids faces when they nail their run. Even though it is still a competitive event it's a great atmosphere that is created and is always a highlight of these events.”
While the event had many sponsors, FAR was also very thankful for the people that were behind the scenes.
“Huge thanks go to the entire team up at the resort. This event is a big event to put on and requires a lot of cooperation between the operations, snow safety and food & beverage departments,” said Sugiyama. “After the snowfall on Friday, patrol worked really hard to ensure our venues were safe and we could get on them as soon as possible to get the competition under way. A huge thanks goes out to all the competitors that showed up both locally and from far away.”