Gene LaRocque

Trail Snow Sports Festival gives Special Olympics athletes opportunity to compete

Fifteen Special Olympics athletes from the area will be competing in the Trail Snow Sports Festival on Saturday, Feb. 6.

Fifteen Special Olympics athletes from the area will be competing in the Trail Snow Sports Festival on Saturday, Feb. 6.

The festival will give a chance for athletes who would not otherwise be competing this year to test their skills.

“This particular event is what would be considered just a regional event, well not regional, it’s a provincial event, but the reason why we’re having it is because this year is the year of the nationals, so many athletes wouldn’t typically have an event to go to this year,” explains Darrell Fry, coach for the Special Olympics alpine ski team. “So we wanted to create an event that everyone could participate in.”

The event will also give the athletes who are headed to the 2016 Special Olympics Canada Winter Games in Corner Brook, N.L. for March 1 a chance to test themselves in competition. Local snowshoer Will Thatcher is one of those who will be going to Corner Brook this year and he will be competing in the event.

Athletes at the festival will compete either in alpine skiing or snowshoeing. The skiing will take place at Red Mountain and the snowshoeing will take place out at Black Jack on the Saturday. Both events will get going at 10 a.m. and should finish around 2 p.m.

Athletes will be arriving in town on Friday, Feb. 5 and will stay for some educational programming on the Sunday.

Fry is grateful for the support the festival has received from community members.

“We’ve had tremendous support from the community for it,” he says. “Our sponsors have been very significant.”

Red Mountain Ventures, Black Jack Ski Club, Columbia Basin Trust, Telus, Gabriella’s Restaurant and the Prestige are among those supporting the event.