Athletes of the Fernie Freestyle Ski Club are gearing up for the upcoming season with new lead coaches and a newly designed development program.
This season the club has spent a lot of time developing a program to create a clear path for athlete development, said Lori Bradish, FFSC board member.
“We realized when our lead coach Chris Ebbern left in the spring that it was an opportunity for the club to address our athlete development path and to refine it for the coming years,” said Bradish.
With input from new lead coaches Ben Ogilvie and Luke Juergensen the new program closely follows the Canadian Freestyle Association’s program identifying different goals for different skier abilities. Other coaches returning this year are Nathan Bundschuh, Bryan Larock, Luka Sinhart and Luke Kary.
Training at Fernie Alpine Resort runs from December to April and focuses on all freestyle elements – moguls, park, big mountain, powder, pillows, steeps and drops.
Club athletes can choose between a recreational, non-competitive, learning to compete and high performance competing programs.
New this season is Jumps and Bumps, a program developed by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association. Participants, aged six and seven years-old, must be able to parallel ski and be able to load and unload the ski lift independently. In this 1-day program skiers will learn to carve turns and develop good basics in jumps, moguls and the terrain park. Participants can choose Saturdays or Sundays.
Freestylzers is for skiers eight years and up. It focuses on more advanced skill development – learning tricks, spins, boxes, rails and progression of jumps in a safe environment. There are two options for Freestylzers: competitive two day program and non-competitive one day program. The goal of the competitive program is to introduce athletes to a competitive structure while maintaining the emphasis on lots of fun.
For skiers from 11-17 years old, there are also two development programs – Get Ready to Compete and the Provincial Competitive Team. In the first group skiers further develop their park skills, progress jumps, moguls, start the path to qualifying tricks and embrace more off-season, off-snow training. This program is a day and a half.
The Provincial Competitive team is compiled of skiers who have already been competing at provincial level competitions and are dedicated to travelling as part of their training and season.
Training is focused on qualifying air tricks, refining mogul technique and developing complex rail tricks, commitment to off-snow, off-season training. This program is designed for athletes who would like to compete at a more advanced level and build advanced Freestyle Skiing skills.
The club also owns an Olympic, 12-string trampoline stored at the Max Turyk Community Center. Club coaches, qualified and trained in trampoline, teach courses throughout the winter with a focus on moving aerial tricks from the trampoline to on-snow.