Rossland will be hosting the North Face Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships starting Thursday. The events will run at Red Mountain Resort through Saturday and brings freeskiers from all over to town.
Nicole Briggs, event co-ordinator, said this year they have doubled the registrants in the Junior event (the Senior event is next week).
“In the past we would only take 100 competitors. We now have 200 that could potentially qualify to compete in the final,” Briggs said.
She said another big thing is the competition is now a part of the International Free Skiing Association and one of two Canadian stops on their national tour. Because of this, the participating Junior athletes can earn points based on their finishing position from first through 15th.
“That will lead to the overall National Junior champion,” Briggs explained. “So that’s a really big thing. Because of that, and because we have snow right now, we’re getting a lot of kids coming up from the American resorts, which is great.”
Briggs said the competition is setting up and looking fabulous. The Junior event covers ages seven through 18.
“The little guys, the 7-14 year olds, qualify on Thursday. The 15-18 year olds qualify on Friday,” she said. “Then the top positions from each of those days will get taken into the final Saturday.”
For the Seniors, it’s one open category, essentially 19 years and over. They all qualify next Thursday, then the top standings will be taken into the semi-final on Mount Roberts on Friday. The top standings on that day go to the finals on Mount Roberts Saturday.
For the senior category, Briggs expects competitors from B.C., Alberta, and Montana.
“I would say from all around the world,” she said.
She also said the course is in great shape, with sufficient snow for them to run a safe event.
“Obviously we need enough snow and we feel that there is certainly enough in there for the venue and for the kids to perform a solid run,” she said. “The safety is the main thing and we’re certainly on the ball with that and feel that the venue at this stage of the game is definitely going to provide that.”
Briggs did say that there are a lot of features exposed this year, a potential danger. She added that there were many ways around those obstacles.
Briggs said they are also excited to have The North Face sponsoring the event.
“The North Face have come onboard as our title sponsor, so they’ll be providing lots of schwag.”