Other provinces are catching up to Quebec in the moguls world and that stood out during the Canadian Selection ID camp at Apex Mountain over the weekend.
David Mirota, director for the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, said this is the first time in a few years that all the provinces were competitive with each other. Mirota is used to Quebec dominating the moguls freestyle landscape.
“I think it is something that shows that the sport is healthy across the country,” said Mirota.
One mogul skier doing her job to show B.C. can be a threat is Okanagan Falls native Andi Naude, who won both races on Saturday and Sunday. Mirota said the CFSA has been watching the former Apex Freestyle Club member since last year.
“She is obviously somewhat special,” said Mirota. “Good work ethic, she’s a very aggressive skier. She did her job, she was the fastest girl all weekend by a good two seconds.”
Mirota added that Naude put pressure on the national team girls and said he thinks it will be good for her confidence.
“We should expect some great performances at NorAm tour levels for her and hopefully see her at the world juniors at the end of the year,” he added.
“I was really excited with my performance,” said Naude, who scored 24.20 on Saturday and 24.17 on Sunday. “Just felt really good to get out there and do what I love to do.”
Naude, a member of the Whistler Academy after being with the AFC and B.C. Freestyle team, was just really happy with her overall performance and how she presented herself.
“This has given me a huge confidence boost,” said Naude, who was also excited for teammate Jae Woo Choi, who won the men’s side.
As the CFSA evaluated talent, moguls skiers received points towards their season standings depending on how they performed. The men’s side awarded points to the top 10, while for the females, it was the top six. Another former AFC member, Mason Barzilay finished in the top 20 placing 17th on the first day and 14th on day two.
On the boys’ side, AFC alumni Jake Little, now with the B.C. Freestyle team, placed eighth on Saturday and 17th on Sunday, while Connor Spence placed 11th and ninth. Jordan Kober placed 17th and 14th, while Josh Kober was 19th and 21st.
“They showed some solid skiing,” said Mirota of the Kober brothers. “They have progressed every year. Connor Spence, with the Academy Program, is a great technical skier. I think with more strength and a year under his belt, he will be somebody to watch out for next year. He is showing some great skiing already.”
During the selection camp, the CFSA collected footage of each mogul skier. Mirota said as they move through the season there is going to be a national team ranking. Skier selections will be based on what they do at Canadian series, junior nationals, nationals, and NorAms. A selection committee of five people can choose to add up to three mogul skiers depending on the coach’s discretion.
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Other AFC alumni and current members who competed were Jordan Cario, Noah Spence, Matt Finlayson, Kyle Parker and Koleton Phipps respectively. Cario, with the B.C. Freestyle team, placed 25th and 24th. Spence was 29th and 34th, Finlayson was 31st and 29th, Parker 33rd and 36th, Phipps 36th and 40th.
Kenni Kuroda coach of the AFC said his skiers did fantastic.
“This calibre that was here is the top in Canada,” he said. “They didn’t look out of place at all. I was quite proud of each one of them.”
Kuroda told his skiers to enjoy themselves as it’s experience under their belt. He also told them not to be too concerned with outcome and placing.
“Just to get a feel of what it’s like to compete at that level, which is huge for these kids,” said Kuroda. “They are 13 and 14 and still have a ways to go. Rubbing shoulders with the top competitors is something in itself.”
Kuroda said it’s a confidence builder for his skiers as they prepare for their first event at Apex on Jan. 12.
“This will be a huge boost to their egos.”