Rossland will be well represented in the alpine skier category at this year’s B.C. Winter Games as there are four local Red Mountain Racers going.
Out of those racers, Gavin Patterson, Ryan Humphreys, Jane Andison are from Rossland and Isaac Lunn is from Castlegar.
The racers qualified for the best of 11 for the zone at the last two races at Kimberley and Panorama.
Twelve year old Jane Andison (who will be 13 next week) said she was very excited for the chance to go to the Games.
“It’s a big race and kind of like provincials and that was really fun last year,” Andison said. “I was just looking at the guide to the games and it looks like it’s going to be really fun. And especially because it’s all the sports so it’s almost like a mini-Olympics.”
Last year’s provincials were only for skiers.
At the B.C. Winter Games alpine skiers compete in three disciplines, slalom, giant slalom and ski-cross.
Andison said she feels ready for the events, but would like to work more on her ski-cross.
“We compete doing skier cross, but at Red the skier cross track just got groomed, so we haven’t had much training on it,” she said, adding that otherwise, she’s pretty ready.
The difference between slalom and giant slalom is the distance and frequency of the gates. Slalom gates are closer together, while in giant slalom they are farther apart. So skiers make much larger turns in the latter and end up going faster.
Andison said her favourite event is a tie.
“I like slalom and GS,” she said. “It’s fun, because I hit the gates in slalom. I like GS because you go faster. I like them pretty equally.”
She is not quite as fond of skier cross, where heats of four racers go down at a time over jumps and rollers.
Andison has been racing since the age of four.
“When I was little, it wasn’t full on racing, it was a race program where you do a bit on the course, but not much,” she said, adding that she plans to continue skiing for a long time.
Andison, along with the three other local racers will hit the road to the Games with accompanying Rossland parent Stephanie Gauvin. They will be joined by 14 other racers from all over the Kootenays.
Gauvin is going as an accompanying parent for the West Kootenay kids.
“I’m accompanying nine kids on the female side,” Gauvin said. “I’m going with a coach from the Fernie area who will be in charge of the boys.”
For each zone, there has to be a male and female coach to accompany the kids. In Zone 1, the Kootenay region, there were no available female coaches, so in that case a parent can go.
Red Mountain Racers coach Phil Patterson said that he has no worries, since Gauvin has some coaching background.
Patterson said the best part is that it brings the alpine community together under the same roof.
“Kids really enjoy it. They get to meet kids from all over the province for the first time,” Patterson said. “Usually we compete in the Kootenays and go to our own alpine provincial championship, but in this case, because they’re all staying together, living together, they really get to know each other.”
Patterson said the kids found out they were going on at the end of January and are excited to go to the event that starts Feb. 23.
“It’s a government run event and they end up sending buses all around the province to pick up different sports,” he said. “They all converge in Vernon and they have accommodation set up for kids and the coaches and the chaperones. Meals and everything are provided.“
Patterson said there will be a field of 130 in the male and female categories combined. The athletes are ages 11 and 12.
“Each provincial sports organization and together with the B.C.” He said. “The Games society, they select which age groups are acceptable for each sport.”