Netflix doc features local speed skier

Joss flies down the hill. Photo submitted

Speed skiers have long claimed to be the fastest non-motorized athletes on the planet.

But that’s a declaration also trumpeted by head-down speed skydivers.

It was up to Joss Advocaat of Sun Peaks to prove speed skiers right in Episode 10 of the Netflix series White Rabbit Project, created by the build team from the popular TV series Mythbusters.

“Beyond Productions actually approached us basically because we’re the only venue in North America and I’m kind of the only one who’s spearheading skiing in the sport,” Advocaat said. “There are tons of people who support the sport, but I’m one of the few from Canada who will actually race.”

Advocaat strapped on his eight-foot skis, futuristic-looking helmet, skin-tight outfit and aerodynamic leg fairings and was fitted with four GoPro cameras for the shoot last March, a day before Sun Peaks Resort played host to the FIS Speed Ski World Cup races.

The aerial shots seen in the episode were captured by drone, while three camera operators caught the action from the top, middle and bottom of the one-kilometre track on Headwalls.

“We were struggling a bit in the morning because we had about 20 centimetres of snow that night, but Sun Peaks put a groomer on Headwalls at like 10 a.m., which is almost unheard of,” Advocaat said.

“It was a bit of work getting it off the ground, but we had a really good film crew that came from Los Angeles. It turned out really good. It was a cool experience. Some average guy got to meet the crew of Mythbusters.”

Kyle Lobprie carried the flag for head-down skydivers. White Rabbit Project’s experts discussed the competition and determined a winner. There will be no spoilers here. Watch the episode to find out who won.

“What I’m more excited about is giving the sport more exposure,” Advocaat said. “I did it so we can make people more aware of this sport and, hopefully, that will lead to more events in North America.”

Advocaat, who said trying to promote speed skiing can sometimes feel like an uphill battle, will be focusing this winter on marketing the Velocity Challenge and 2017 FIS World Cup Race, events set to run at Sun Peaks from Mar. 5 to 8.

The second annual So You Think You’re Fast Eh?, a speed-skiing race day for the average Joe, will be held Mar. 4.

“It was actually really well-received last year, so I think we’re going to put more time and effort into it,” Advocaat said. “We’re trying to show that, yeah, it is a hard sport, but we’re willing to coach people.”

For more information on the local speed-skiing events, email info@velocitychallenge.com.

Last winter, Advocaat travelled to Europe and finished as the top Canadian on the World Cup circuit, 12th overall.

He was invited by then-world-record holder, Simone Origone, to compete at the world’s fastest course in Vars, France, where Advocaat was looking to break the Canadian record of 234.83 km/h.

There was a fundraiser in Sun Peaks to help pay for his extended trip and $3,400 was raised. Two falls — one at a speed of 208.45 km/h — and an injury during training forced Advocaat to withdraw ahead of the competition.

Advocaat, who claimed the 2016 Velocity Challenge title with a top speed of 128.63 km/h, will not be skiing on the World Cup circuit this season.

“This year, I’m just going to focus more on the events [at Sun Peaks] and putting my time into making them even better, so it becomes a big thing every year,” said Advocaat, who works in maintenance at the Sun Peaks Grand Hotel and Conference Centre.

He isn’t too sure if the appearance on the Netflix show, which was released on Dec. 9, will lead to any more opportunities to promote the sport, but will listen if anyone comes calling.

“We’re special in Sun Peaks because there is a huge amount of support of the sport, but I do wish someone somewhere else would pick this up and have another race at a North American resort,” Advocaat said. “It is good for the resorts. If they catch onto that, I think they could benefit.”

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