Building a new boarder cross team

Maddie Hampton competes last winter. | PHOTO Jim Hall

Andy Armstrong has been a snowboard instructor at Sun Peaks for nearly ten years, but has also coached snowboard cross to riders looking for something different than freestyle competitions. He said he believes Sun Peaks currently has enough momentum to kick off something new and exciting for the mountain.

“We have a lot of excellent ski teams here that are well established racers around B.C., so why can’t we also have a snowboarding side?”

Snowboard cross competitions have steadily grown in popularity, alongside ski cross. What was once a niche X-Games event made its Olympic debut at Sochi 2014.

Last season, Armstrong coached Maddie Hampton, who previously trained and competed in snowboard cross events at Whistler. Since moving to Sun Peaks, Maddie and her mother Allison have worked with Armstrong, who will be head coach of the team, to get the approvals needed from Sun Peaks Resort LLP.

Armstrong is optimistic about the future of the team.

“We have four kids confirmed and really eager to go. To make a team that really has a shot, we need at least six. If we get the go ahead, things are looking really bright for us.”
The fledgling organization is also on the lookout for potential sponsors to help get them off the ground.

Armstrong knows the potential of snowboard cross teams, having helped coach the Kamloops First Nations team to a podium finish at Big White’s Like Me Snowboard Cross provincial finals in March of 2016.

The 2018 B.C. Winter Games, held in Kamloops and Sun Peaks, are set to be the first B.C. Games to involve snowboarding, including a snowboard cross competition for riders aged 13 and 14, and Armstrong is keen to have local representation on the track.

“A lot of the locals want to see other local kids thrive, so we’ve got to give them all the opportunities we can.”