More than 60 of the best mogul skiers will be at Apex Mountain Resort looking to make an impression during the sixth annual Canadian Selections camp Dec.19-20.
The camp is held by the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association for its national C team and provincial-level skiers aspiring to become Olympic athletes. Also in attendance are members from Japan, Australia, Korea and the U.S., as well as alumni and members of the Apex Freestyle Club (AFC). The athletes range in age from 13 to 23.
Julie Steggall, high performance athlete development program manager for the CFSA, said this event is part of the Canada Cup Series.
“The CFSA holds this event so our high performance athlete development have an extra chance to get a good result to qualify for NorAms competitions for this season,” she said, adding that once the second event is over on Sunday they rank the skiers and allocate the NorAm spots to specific athletes.
With that on the line, Steggall said it is a pressure situation.
“Some athletes are pretty secure right now to get spots. There are a few that are on the bubble,” she said. “These events will help them potentially secure a spot. That’s one aspect of all of this. The provincial teams and NextGen mogul team, national development team have been training there for three weeks.”
From the AFC, the following athletes are competing — from Penticton, Brayden Kuroda, Jordan and Chloe Kober, Shaina Finlayson, Koleton Phipps, Anna Spence, Noah Spence and James Naude. From West Kelowna, Mason Barzilay and Mackenzie Schwinghamer. From Kelowna, Hayden Person, Joe Durham, from Vernon, Jamie Rykuiter, Keremeos, Max and Kassidy Todd and from Port Coquitlam, Madison Parker and Kyle Parker.
Spence, Kuroda and Barzilay declined roster spots on the B.C. Mogul team, but will compete on the national and NorAm circuit.
The club also has Kuroda, Naude, Max Todd, Rykuiter, Chloe Kober and Finlayson who will ski with AFC and the BC development under Tanya Callon.
AFC coach Kenni Kuroda said the competition will be tough. He talked about how strong the Japan team is and how they are coming on in the sport. Their skill level is good for the skiers to learn from.
“We are just awed by the speed they are skiing at. All of their skiers are very quick. They do their jumps very big,” said Kuroda. “It’s quality of turns as well. We’re quite impressed by the speed.”
When asked how Spence and Barzilay, the two skiers he is coaching, will do, Kuroda said their experience will help, especially Barzilay, who is 20.
“She is still a force to be reckoned with,” he said. “I’m foreseeing good results for both Anna and Mason in this event. Hopefully making the cut for finals. Anything can happen. It’s a very difficult field to make the final.”
While he isn’t working with the six skiers currently with the development team, Kuroda is keeping an eye on them and sees them making great leaps.
“They are coming along really well. I’m very pleased with the way that they are skiing,” said Kuroda, who praised the work of Callon.
The event is free for the public to attend and is a 30-minute drive from Penticton. Volunteers are also needed. Contact James Rykuiter at email@example.com for information.