On June 19, 17-year-old Justin Rokosh received the news he’d been waiting 14 weeks to hear. He was cleared to return to physical activity after a lacerated spleen ended his competitive ski season at the Junior Nationals Slopestyle competition at Mount Louis Moonstone in Ontario.
That same day Rokosh received an email that said he was selected as a member of the BC High Performance Park & Pipe Team. Rokosh said he was really happy to get the email but added it was unexpected.
“After I hurt my spleen and wasn’t able to go to the selection camp I was less expecting it but I still hoped that I would end up making it,” he said.
Rokosh was able to make Team BC through an extraordinary circumstances clause in the BC Freestyle Ski Team selection criteria in which the high-performance committee can nominate athletes who they feel qualify.
He said he felt spending time with the team last season and skiing with the groups helped him in the selection process as the coach knew his ability.
Rokosh received the Timber Tour Best of Series award for the U18 Men’s slopestyle category for his performance in all three BC Timber Tour stops last season. As a Team BC athlete, he will now transition out of the smaller competitions into the Canadian Open Cup series and NorAm competitions.
“I’m feeling pretty confident especially after how last season went for me. I feel like it went pretty good. I’m not really worried but still nervous about it all,” said Rokosh.
Training for Team BC starts July 3 however a trip to Cuba will prevent Rokosh from attending. He will spend a week on the glacier and working on water ramps in Whistler with his new team later this summer.
“I’m wanting to learn more, like always. Going to hopefully get more double flips going in, those always score better and work on pretty much everything in skiing,” he said.
To focus on skiing Rokosh decided to take a year off school after graduating high school in June with the goal of one day making a career for himself in the sport.
“I’d just like to do as good as I can, meet more people who can help me go further into this, see if I could end up one day having a job doing something in skiing,” said Rokosh.