Now that ski and snowboard events are able to take place again for the first time since the beginning of the pandemic, the Sun Peaks Freestyle Club (SPFC) is once again preparing for the winter season.
Brennan Thompson, president of the club, said some of their athletes continued to train and prepare through the off-season. In the spring and fall, SPFC worked with the Kamloops Gymnastics and Trampoline Club to do trampoline training. In the summer, they had several of their athletes go to Oliver, B.C. to participate in water ramp programs through Freestyle Apex.
One of the programs in Oliver that SPFC’s younger athletes participated in was Girlstylerz, which provides training using a water ramp, air bag, trampoline and dry land training.
“It’s a fairly new initiative that launched a few years ago to bring more girls into the sport,” said Thompson.
While summer training is fun, there is nothing quite like the snow. This upcoming winter, the club has two ski events planned: The Canada Cup and the Timber Tour. While there are no snowboarding events planned right now, Thompson said they hope to add one to their schedule.
The Canada Cup will take place in Sun Peaks between Jan. 31 to Feb. 3. This is a high level competition, including athletes on provincial teams or at the national development level, just below the World Cup level. It draws about 100 athletes from across Canada.
The Timber Tour is a B.C. provincial series event that will be in Sun Peaks from Feb. 10 to 13. Two other Timber Tour events will also take place in Panorama and Whistler. They draw about 200 athletes from across the province and include moguls, big air and slopestyle events.
This is SPFC’s second time hosting the Timber Tour. The last time they hosted was in 2020, a week before the COVID-19 lockdown began.
“That’s kind of the last event that happened in B.C. since COVID started,” said Thompson. “This is a big year to go back to having any events.”
But although the pandemic affected the events, SPFC gained quite a few new members last season. Thompson said that since other sports weren’t able to take place, skiing and snowboarding became more popular. The club currently has around 70 skiers and 15 snowboarders.
“The momentum has carried on. We’re already on track to grow a little bit more,” said Thompson. “It’s looking like a good year.”