The Red Mountain Racers are hosting a K-level downhill race this weekend, but it isn’t in Rossland. The kinder level race was supposed to be held in Rossland, but had to be moved to Invermere because of the conditions at Red two weeks ago.
Christine Andison said the move was a necessity, though one they would rather have avoided, as two weeks ago Red didn’t have the snow to support 50-plus racers.
“It’s been moved over to Panorama,” Andison said. “We had to make that call two weeks ago. There is a minimum two week time frame for that so we are running them there.”
She said it was a big disappointment for both the families and racers, especially since Red is now at a point where they probably could have gone forward with it.
“But with the snow being a little late to come we had to make that call early and that was that,” she said. “But certainly it’s a lot more fun to host a race in your hometown as opposed to hosting it in someone else’s. It’s definitely a lot more work, there’s no question about that.”
To pull off an International Ski Federation (FIS) race for example, like the one they will be hosting at the end of February, requires about 120 volunteers a day. For the K-Level race they require about 50 volunteers.
“So it’s a question of ensuring that you have those people with those skill sets in place in order to make those events successful,” she said. “Then several days in advance there’s a lot of on-hill prep that has to occur as well.”
A number of race families headed over to Panorama late last night or bright and early this morning to do two days of prep work there prior to the races on Saturday and Sunday.
Andison said Red does have some features ski racer families enjoy on the race circuit, including the best vantage point for parents, since they can have two races going on at the same time on Face and Back Trail.
“For parents who have both a female and a male racer, they can actually watch from the lodge both of their racers coming down the courses simultaneously,” she said. “That’s just unheard of. Other resorts, you’re inevitably taking one or two lifts just to get to the race course and if you don’t ski, you’re not going to see your kids race.”
She said it’s a venue that a lot of the families look forward to coming to.
“It’s certainly a disappointment for all of the race families from our Kootenay area that this race will be taking place in Panorama instead of Red,” she added.
Their next big event will be the FIS races that Red Mountain Racers will host in February.
“The FIS races are really big. We’ll have somewhere between 220 and 240 athletes here and of course all of the support staff,” Andison said. “It usually means an influx of about 600 people coming to town for a five day period. So it’s a big race for sure. It will include all of the big B.C. and Alberta teams and some of the States athletes as well.”
The FIS is the level just under the national team.
“The next step is they’re on the national team and they’re competing in the Olympics,” she said. “So it’s high-level racing.”
The FIS racers are mostly around 16 to 18 year olds, with some older.
“It’s certainly our biggest race and any of the FIS races hosted anywhere in Canada are always quite large events and bring athletes from a long ways away,” she said. “Last year we had athletes from France. They really do come from quite a distance.”
To get more info on the races, go to redmountainracers.com