Andrea Byrne was born and raised in Fernie, which is ideal for her, as it fostered her passion for skiing. The 18-year-old is competing in the freeride circuit hoping to qualify for the Freeride World Tour next year.
“I’m a rookie right now, I guess you could say,” she said in an interview with The Free Press. “This is kind of my year to qualify for the Freeride World Tour. I just became old enough to compete on the world qualifying circuit, so this is my first year on it, but yeah, the ideal goal at the end of it all is to make the Freeride World Tour.”
While she might be new to the competitive scene, she has had a successful season thus far. She has been on the podium for events in Rossland and Grand Targhee, Wyoming, the latter of which was just two weeks ago.
“It was a really good experience. It felt like I had finally picked up my skills from last year. I had felt really comfortable on my skis at that point, so it went really well,” she said about the competition in Rossland.
Byrne is on the road for the next while, competing in events in B.C., Colorado, New Mexico and Washington. Her last event is Wrangle the Chute, a four-star world qualifier for the World Freeride Tour in late March.
Byrne doesn’t find the intense travel and competing schedule difficult, as it is her passion.
“Every year I get really excited when fall rolls around and the snow starts to fall because I get so excited to reconnect with all of these amazing people that I have met in the ski community from around the world,” she said. “It is such a lifestyle and I get so excited every season to meet all of the new people and to be working with different companies and have the continuous support of all of these people in the community. It’s really exciting for me.”
Byrne also credits the support of the local Fernie community for helping her compete at a semi-pro level. She got into the sport after the help of a foundation.
“When I was 13, I joined Fernie Freeride because a guy named Bruno Frost saw me skiing and he told me that I should be on the team. I started with that. I couldn’t afford it and then the Will Bouchard Foundation, they supported me in my first year of it,” she explained.
Since then, local businesses such as Evolution Fitness, Emily Brydon Foundation, RCR and Ski Base have all shown their support for the local athlete, among others.
“I really want to thank Commit Snow and Skate for being my first local sponsor since I was young,” she added.
If all goes to plan, Byrne will be competing and representing Fernie at a professional level in the near future.