Early to rise for Terwiel fans

Elli and Brittany
Brittany Phelan (left) and Elli Terwiel both represented Canada in women’s slalom.

It was an early morning at Sun Peaks for Elli Terwiel fans, but one that wouldn’t be missed to cheer on a local racer at her first Olympics.

“There was a whole group of us at Cahilty Lodge bright and early and cheering,” says Christopher Nicolson, president of Tourism Sun Peaks. “It’s been an emotional day. Everyone in the village has been talking about her, and everyone is exceptionally proud of her and very proud of the family and everything they represent.”

Terwiel started her slalom run in 27th spot in conditions that were above freezing, necessitating the use of a lot of salt on the course to keep it frozen. She started the race strong, but straddled a gate in her first run, putting her out of the game for the second run.

“I thought she did very well,” said Sun Peaks’ mayor, Al Raine. “The real issue for (Elli) was: Did she race well? And she raced terrifically. She didn’t hold back, and she went for it, and those are the perils of slalom racing. When you’re attacking all you have to be is a centimeter off and you straddle a gate. She was going well until she got to that point.”

Raine was watching Terwiel’s race after a long night of Olympic viewing. His son Willy Raine is a coach, and Sun Peaks local Rod Honey is a service technician, with the Canadian ski cross team that brought home both gold and silver in the women’s event.

Back at home, though, the Olympic spirit is still strong, and there’s a lot of pride at having a Sun Peaks local make it to the Olympic starting gates.

“We can’t imagine how Elli’s feeling, but want to make sure that she knows we’re all very, very, very proud of her. She’s got lots to be proud of,” says Nicholson.