Myles Williamson has spent a lot of time in terrain parks. Learning how to ski in Ontario meant taking advantage of the manmade features instead of powder glades.
“The mountains didn’t really have backcountry skiing and I found a passion in the tricks learned in the terrain park.” Williamson said. “Then when I came out to B.C. I was blown away by the culture behind freestyle skiing and snowboarding.
Since moving to B.C. he has worked in the park at Cypress and currently volunteers in the terrain park at Sun Peaks.
Last year, as a student at Thompson Rivers University (TRU), he walked by the small hills in the campus commons, often referred to as the Telly Tubby Hills by students. With skiing on the brain, he imagined setting up park features on the slopes.
“I have a knack for scouting terrain and making a feature. I’m always thinking ‘how can I hit that with skis or a snowboard?’ so I was scouting the Telly Tubby Hills,” Williamson said. “I thought ‘that’s pretty crazy, how could that ever happen?’”
But his daydream of an on-campus terrain feature came true on Jan. 20 at the first Campus In-Flight Invitational. With support from Red Bull and TRU, Williamson planned an event that brought nearly 1000 people to cheer on skiers and boarders who were launched 20 feet into the air with the help of a winch.
He said the support of his professor Billy Collins was crucial to the event’s success as Collins helped him reach important contacts and gain the university’s support.
“They let us do something cool,” he said, adding he was glad to work with TRU. “It’s hard waters to navigate so people get scared and intimidated because it takes a long time for things to process.”
For Williamson, the night was a culmination of his hardest project to date.
“I couldn’t have been happier with the result,” he said. “It’s nice to see, I definitely feel accomplished. It’s really cool to see my dream complete.”
The 18 competitors flew off a 30 foot jump and landed on a spine, throwing their best tricks while airborne. Despite a soft landing due to last minute alterations Williamson said they were happy to have the chance to get attention from a new demographic.
“They definitely had a good time and want to come back,” he said. “Guys that were riding it really loved it.”
Although Williamson plans to graduate with a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies in the spring he would like to stay in the area, and see the event continue for years to come.
“It creates some sort of community of students which I think TRU really lacks,” Williamson said. “I’d love to have another Campus In-Flight next year.”
7. An aerial view of the crowd and jump. Photo Alex Mey Photography.
6. Inverted in front of a crowded House of Learning. Photo Alex Mey Photography.
5. The competitors after the event. Photo Alex Mey Photography.
4. A competitor flies through the air in front of the Campus Activity Centre. Photo Alex Mey Photography.