Testing your velocity

SET YOUR SPEED:  Sun Peaks will host the only speed skiing World Cup races in North America in March. - File Photo
SET YOUR SPEED: Sun Peaks will host the only speed skiing World Cup races in North America in March. – File Photo

New racers will have an opportunity to try speed skiing with the creation of a new event ahead of the FIS World Cup Speed Skiing races that will be held at Sun Peaks in March.

So You Think You’re Fast, Eh? will open a week of skiers flying down Headwalls ski run trying to hit their maximum velocity from March 1 to 5.

The new event will give skiers who have never tried speed skiing a low pressure opportunity to try out the sport. The first day will only allow skiers from the low and mid starting points.

In the past, new skiers would have had to join the World Cup circuit where skiers try to get as many runs from the top of Headwalls as possible. The new event will try and take away some of the pressure a new speed skier can face.

“Going to the top is really challenging and in the past if you were to sign up for the world cup as a new racer, there’s a huge amount of pressure for the world cuppers to get to the top as quick as possible. For a new racer that’s pretty intimidating,” said organizer Scott Coleman.

Skiers participating in So You Think You’re Fast Eh? will also have fewer requirements than the World Cup race. Racers will need a ski between 210 and 225 centimetres, a helmet, back protection and a racing suit is recommended but not required.

The ultimate goal is to help grow the discipline of speed skiing in North America. Sun Peaks hosts the only World Cup races on the continent and there are only 197 registered racers in the world.

“We don’t push anybody to do this. You’ve got to enjoy what you’re doing. We want to make it just easier to try with that first day, no pressure,” Coleman said. “Our interest as the (Sun Peaks Speed Skiing Club) is to introduce more people to it.”

Amateurs are also eligible to sign up for the two FIS World Cup races and the Velocity Challenge that will take place in the following days. Racers will need to register a FIS number in advance of the event.

Over 60 World Cup racers from 11 different national teams are expected to fly down the famous Headwalls track at their top speed for the two world cup races, in addition to all the amateurs who will race as well.

The event’s new organizers also want to attract more spectators and bring the excitement across the ski hill the races used to bring.

“We want to build the event back to Speed Week like it used to be 10 years ago where the village was abuzz with all these national team coats running around here. There’s a speed event going on here. The fastest people in the world, men and women, are here racing on Headwalls. That’s where we want to get it back to,”
Coleman said.

“It’s exciting to see. A racer coming down the hill at 100 m.p.h. sounds like a jet fighter cutting through the air.”