March 21, 2018

The transition from February into March usually marks the beginning of the spring melt, incredible snow conditions and, the hustle of ski racers around the province as they race their way through the series. For Banff Alpine, this year is no different.

February brought on Olympic fever with BAR alumina Trevor Philp and Erik Read returning to their old stomping ground before their next adventure: the Olympic Games in PyeongChang. A banner was created and signed by all members of the club from Q18 to FIS, from parents, coaches and old friends. Signs of encouragement and good luck mementos were blanketed across the canvas. In spirit of the special event, and because the Cookie Cup was amongst us, cookies were decorated in Olympic fashion and symbolically awarded to both Read and Philp. Neither Read nor Philp had attended the legendary cookie cup ceremony but relished in the gesture.  “I just love the energy that we’ve been experiencing in this last week that we’ve been up here… Just to see the excitement and the amount of support that the hill is willing to work for us, everyone is wishing us the best for the Olympics, it’s just so cool to see it in the state that’s its in right now” said Philp. Smiles and pictures were exchanged and autographs signed as the beady eyes of children asked for a special moment with their role models, symbolizing a full circle of achievement and development for the Olympic athletes and the club as a whole.

February also brought brisk weather to the Alberta Winter Games (AWG) hosted by Fort McMurray. Banff Alpine represented Zone 2: Big Country against eight other zones all competing for the provincial title.  However even with temperatures dropping as low as -27 degrees the weather didn’t seem to faze the athletes with BAR placing on the podium and in top 10 in both disciplines.

The athletes soon traded in their burgundy AWG colors for more reasonable temperatures and faster speeds for the U14 Kimberly Speed Camp. The camp takes place over the course of four days on the world cup track. Athletes learn how to generate and control speed in a safe, supervised environment sometimes topping speeds of up to 80km/h. And yes, jumps were included! Athletes are responsible for making their own meals, tuning their own skis and completing school work after each training session, which makes for some interesting life lessons! For example, if the fire alarm goes off in the hotel room, it’s probably too late to save the grilled cheese. Sunscreen is important! If the tuning iron is smoking, then it’s too hot! The dye lines are not the race line and finally, Bon Jovi always rocks the tuning room!

Up next was the March Cookie Cup: Easter Edition. The Cookie Cup has been a tradition for Banff Alpine for the last five years. Athletes from ages 4-12 participated in the club race, all racing their hearts out for a taste of a legendary cookie medal (in Easter themed costumes of course).

In addition to the march madness is the volume of snow Norquay has received over the course of the season. The big chair has been blanketed with pillows of powder more times than we can count! The Sun Shoots have provided endless amount of delightful cheers from all age groups, while Bruno’s Gully has hosted multiple “pro” mogul competitions between many of the athletes and coaches.

Keep a look out for the U12 Caribou Cup hosted by Bow Valley Quickies on March 25 and 25 at Mount Norquay, Bozo Cup on March 31, and U14/U16 Kinder Cup on April 1! All races are for a good cause and it’s an excuse to get out of the city and onto new unexplored terrain!


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