A few years ago Jamie Veillette wouldn’t have pictured himself flying down Headwalls at 148.42 kilometres an hour on a pair of skis.
But on March 4, he strapped on a pair of the extra long speed skis for the first time and found himself staring down the steep groomed pitch as part of the So You Think You’re Fast Eh event for first time speed skiers.
Thirty first-timers joined him and when he moved into the competition he was part of a group of 47 skiers from 12 countries.
But getting there wasn’t easy. In 2015 Veillette decided to turn his life around and focus on bettering himself.
As he worked to overcome personal challenges and recover from injuries, he joined the local CrossFit gym, to which he credits the support of his goals and helping him become the strongest and healthiest he’s ever been.
“Black Beaver (CrossFit) gets all the credit,” he said. “Two years ago I wouldn’t have
His hard work at the gym paid off, as Veillette said his back and legs needed to be strong for the days of racing at Sun Peaks’ Velocity Challenge and FIS Speed Skiing World Cup.
Preparing mentally was another challenge as not much can compare to the sport.
“It was a little daunting,” Veillette said of standing at the second start located lower down the Headwalls ski run. “I had butterflies.”
At one point the racer ahead of him crashed, sparking reservations, but after a little more practise on the course he felt at home.
“The first couple (of runs) I was focused on my form but by the end I was thinking about what’s for dinner.”
Veillette, who grew up in Kamloops but moved to Sun Peaks in 2010, saw the community rally to support him. His mom, Sue Elder, who competed in and won the Velocity Challenge in 1986, attended all five days of the event.
Coworkers from Ski Patrol and friends from throughout the village came out to cheer him on during his runs.
“That was a really cool feeling,” he said. “It was people I have been around my
People he met for the first time also helped him compete— his ski suit was borrowed from a member of the Swedish team.
The transition back to making turns while skiing Headwalls was strange, Veillette said. But he thinks next year he will take part again. Until then he is on the search for a new target.
“I’ll find a new goal.”