The 2012 East Kootenay Highschool Ski and Snowboard Championships hit the slopes at Panorama last week, and David Thompson Secondary School (DTSS) athletes came away with some tremendous results.
Thirty eight athletes participated in the team-based event, which saw DTSS claim second place in both girls’ and boys’ ski, while the boys’ snowboard team finished first among six other teams. All three of these teams have now qualified for provincials in Whistler from February 27 to 29.
“It’s amazing—I wasn’t expecting to do this well,” coach Becca Wright said. “The kids are awesome, we really have nice, respectful kids. They’re willing to listen to us, and while they still have some spice and don’t kiss our butts or anything, they recognize that it’s a privilege for us to do this, and they really want to learn.”
While skiing and snowboarding are obviously individually based sports, Wright says that the scoring system for both the East Kootenay Championships and provincials are unique, in that they favour the team aspect, as well as overall participation. Each team is made up of six athletes, who are then seeded according to internal time trials at each school. At competition time each seed then races against the equivalent seeds from other teams — that is, the first seeds race against first seeds from other schools, and so forth.
Wright says this really gives each team member a chance to contribute to the overall competition, and can showcase a team’s depth.
This became especially apparent when two of the six boys’ ski athletes crashed out and were unable to finish their runs in regionals. Since the team’s other seeds performed so well they still managed a silver finish.
“We like to focus on finishing the race… go as fast as you can, but still finish,” Wright said. “I would rather the kids have a good time and a good experience as opposed to going 120 per cent and getting injured. That does take maturity—showing them that you can push it so far, but if you push it too far your going to blow out and not finish, so it’s trying to teach them that balance.”
The team has been preparing for the East Kootenay Championships for a number of weeks.
Each Thursday the team is given a run to practice on at Panorama, while members of the Windermere Valley Ski Club take time to set up gates for the kids to race around. Sessions last about two hours, and part of the way through the season they organize time trials that determine the final seedings of the racers. Wright would like to send a huge thanks to both Panorama and the volunteers that help them each week (as well as her fellow coaches Joanne Bragg and Jessica Fairhart), including the parents for helping support the racers. She says the next step for the team is raising the funds necessary to send the between 15 and 18 athletes to provincials. The team leaves next Sunday, and Wright estimates it will cost upwards of $5,000 to send those athletes participating. While no specific fundraising events have been planned, Wright says that any and all donations to help fund the trip are more than welcome, and anyone looking for more information on the trip to provincials can contact either her or fellow coach Joanne Bragg at DTSS.
“Regardless of the results their coaches are proud of them,” Wright said. “It’s a real honour.”