Aspiring Canadian Olympic mogul skiers are descending on Apex Mountain Dec. 12 to 15.
They are in Penticton to put their skills on display for Canadian Freestyle Ski Association brass for their fourth annual talent identification camp and competitions for its National C Team and provincial-level athletes.
Julie Steggall, performance program manager for the CFSA, said this Federation International Ski event is important in different ways.
“Athletes are trying to show what their skills are,” said Steggall. “We look at the event as a marker. How programs are doing.”
It’s an assessment in a training environment, it’s not just about results said Steggall. She said it provides a window for athletes to possibly make the national team.
The local Apex Freestyle Club has six skiers competing with Koleton Phipps, Kassidy Todd, Mackenzie Schwinghamer, Madison Parker, Max Todd, Joe Durham, Shaina Finlayson and Brayden Kuroda. AFC coach Kenni Kuroda said Schwinghamer, Parker as well as Kassidy and Max Todd have been selected for B.C.’s new development team. When the weekend is over, they will return to AFC.
Kuroda said his athletes will be up against a strong field that features skiers not on the world cup stage.
“It’s the best mogul skiers from across Canada,” he said. “It will be very tough. However, getting this kind of exposure is just fantastic. Having this event at our mountain where we can get our athletes into the event says it all. It’s just a great opportunity for them to compete at this level.”
Kuroda has no expectations when it comes to results, but said the group finishing in the middle of the pack would be fantastic.
“My athletes are skiing very well,” he said. “Learning some new tricks this summer, which they will be doing at this event. “It’s a really good indicator of how the year is going to go.”
Former AFC coach Jeff Fairbairn, who now works with the B.C. mogul team, said competing at home can benefit the younger skiers.
“It’s a pretty tough competition,” said Fairbairn. “Quebec brought out 18 athletes.
“The Quebec system is not going to put out an athlete on an airplane out here unless they are at a certain level.”
Fairbairn said that former AFC skiers Connor and Noah Spence and Mason Barzilay could perform well.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how they stack up against the rest of the athletes,” said Fairbairn, who credited the staff at Apex Mountain in getting the course ready.
More than 60 athletes aged 13 to 23 will be flying down the course. Spectators are welcomed to head to Apex to watch the two days of competition for free. The event wraps up on Dec. 15.