Largest ever CADS festival hits Sun Peaks

A student receives an award from her instructor. Photo SPIN.

Two hundred skiers, snowboarders and their friends and family visited Sun Peaks from March 26 to 31 to celebrate and discuss skiing and snowboarding. They were attending the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiing (CADS) festival, hosted at Sun Peaks for the fifth time. The previous years festival’s saw around 100 attendees.

Christian Hrab, managing director of CADS, said the festival is an important way to increase the feeling of community for disabled skiers across the country.

“Often we ski with a small group at a local place,” he said. “We can just come here to talk about skiing.”

Skiers, snowboarders and instructors took part in a variety of events like lessons, courses and races. Afternoons and evenings boasted social events like movie nights, tubing, games and a banquet.

It was also the first year participants were able to race on the banked slalom course on Hully Gully. Eight snowboarders, the most in the festival’s history, and a number of skiers took to the challenging course to compete.

Hrab said he was excited to see more snowboarders attend the festival.

“Historically it is very ski-centric,” he said. “But we have added snowboarding and partnered with the national para-snowboard team.”

Sun Peaks is a good host for the festival, Hrab said, because of the variety of terrain, snow conditions, accessibility, and support from the resort.

“Sun Peaks is extremely generous, we would like to thank the resort and The Grand (hotel) for the support.”

President of Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks (ASSP), Pat McKimmon, said the festival was a great opportunity for Sun Peaks’ students and instructors to improve their skiing, volunteer, and meet other athletes.

Five more ASSP students were able to attend thanks to locals Mark and Helen Jones who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro to fundraise for the group.

McKimmon said a lot of planning took place in the six months since the festival was again awarded to the mountain, but her all female team was organized and focused to get it done.

“We also had great support from the community and the resort was extremely generous,” she said. “The payback is seeing all the joy.”