Young skiers from across the province gathered at Canyon Ski Resort near Red Deer last weekend to compete in the Alberta North U21 Regional Giant Slalom Race hosted by the Red Deer Ski Club (RDSC).
Red Deer Ski Club president Lyle Johnson says skiers ranged in age from 12-21 and took part in two runs on Saturday and two runs Sunday.
“It’s two races effectively on each day,” explains Johnson. “We had about 80 participants in our race this year. Most of the participants came from clubs from Red Deer, Sunridge Edmonton Ski Club, Rabbit Hill, Parkland, Cold Lake and Fort McMurray.”
Johnsons says it’s the only race the Red Deer Ski Club is hosting this season and a big event on the ski club calendar.
“Next year we’re hoping to also have Nancy Greene race here and perhaps even a ski cross race as well,” he adds. “We’re pulling in kids from Edmonton, Cold Lake, Fort McMurray, from around the province basically and sometimes even kids from the southern part of the province as well. It features our hill, it brings people to Red Deer that wouldn’t normally be here and exposes them to what I consider to be the best non-mountain ski hill in Alberta.”
Following the success of last weekend’s races, Johnson says Canyon will next be welcoming skiers from across the country to compete in the Canada Winter Games.
“Last week the Alberta ski team was out at Canyon training Slalom on our hill,” says Johnson. “The Slalom event though, along with GS and Super-G are going to be held at Nakiska. But under the realm of Alpine, we have Ski Cross here at Red Deer on a brand new course that’s been built two years ago, so we will be hosting the Ski Cross race.”
However, a week before the free-style type event that includes terrain features, Johnson says they’ll convert the current ‘family-friendly’ course to one suitable for competition at the Canada Winter Games.
“It should be really exciting for anybody who wants to come out and see Ski Cross,” exclaims Johnson. “There are other events being held at Canyon. Under Snowboard, they have Border Cross, Slope Style, Parallel Giant Slalom and then Freestyle has moguls, they also have Aerials, Big Air and Slope Style as well and then they have Half Pipe which is being held at C.O.P. (Canadian Olympic Park) in Calgary.”
Johnson says the Ski Cross event at Canyon will take place on the last weekend of the Winter Games.
“March 1 is the training and March 2 the Saturday, will be the qualifying and the race for Ski Cross,” adds Johnson. “We also have two members from the Red Deer Ski Club who will be forerunners in the Ski Cross event and one member from our club who will be a forerunner at Nakiska for the three events that are being held there. They’ll be going down the course before the competitors go down to check out the track and make sure that the timing gear works.”
In addition, Johnson says it’s important to acknowledge the hard work and dedication from all the volunteers who helped during the past weekend’s event and those who will help at the Canada Winter Games.
“There’s numerous volunteers in different roles for the Winter Games,” he explains. “For Ski Cross we have several that will be working on the hill, as well as several volunteers that will be helping inside Canyon. Also, any events at Canyon Ski Resort for the Winter Games are absolutely free, so if anybody from Red Deer or anywhere else wants to come out and watch, it’s a free event and a great opportunity to see some great competition.”
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