Cranbrook and Kimberley will be well represented at the B.C. Winter Games as athletes in various sports prepare to give their best in the field of competition when the event kicks off in Mission in February.
Local skiers Emma Damm, Jamie Casselman and Ethan Blair are part of the 10-member alpine ski team that will represent the Kootenay zone during the Games.
All three are members of the Kimberley Alpine Team, coming out of the Nancy Greene program. They are coached by Ethan’s dad, Jon, and have been very active on the slopes at races this season.
Damm, 13, is looking forward to her B.C. Games, not just for the racing, but for for the atmosphere as well.
“The experience and getting to race with a bunch of other people,” she said, on what she’ll be excited about when she’s on the slopes.
The ski team competes in alpine racing, giant slalom, slalom and skier cross.
Damm said the giant slalom is her specialty.
“[It’s] funner, less technical, and more about the speed,” Damm said.
Ethan beta racing when he was young under the tutelage of Jon, who himself is a former ski racer.
“My dad brought me into it and I really liked it,” Blair said.
Like Damm and Blair, Casselman was a part of the Nancy Greene ski program and decided to get into racing.
Casselman’s parents knew he had a future in ski racing when he was very young, because he would set up empty milk cartons in the living room and pretend to run a course on a pair of plastic skis.
All three came out of zone qualifiers in Fernie a couple weeks ago, booking their ticket to the Winter Games after their best three finishes in six races put them in the top 10.
Casselman especially made an impact during the zone races, winning five of those six runs.
He is a veteran of both the summer and winter games in the past and is looking forward to getting back into provincial competition, especially in the slalom event.
“It’s fast and you have to make quick decisions because the gate’s coming at you fast,” he said.
Like Casselman, Blair has also been to the B.C. Games and is excited to compete in the relatively new sport of ski cross.
“Looking forward to the skier cross because it’s going to be with multiple people on the course at once and it’s going to make it more exciting,” he said.
The games begin on Feb. 20th, with Mission as the host city. Skiing events will be hosted by Hemlock Valley Resort.