Sun Peaks Alpine Club members qualify for Canada Games

Members of the Sun Peaks Alpine Club competed in the U16 Teck Open from Jan. 26 to 29 and two members qualified for Team BC.
Members of the Sun Peaks Alpine Club stand together smiling at the U16 Teck Open competition.
Members of Team BC, including three Sun Peaks Alpine Club members, gather together at the U16 Teck Open. Photo provided.

Despite poor weather upending scheduled programming for the U16 Teck Open, two Sun Peaks Alpine Club (SPAC) members qualified to represent Team BC at the Canada Games, and a third member will be an alternate.

SPAC president Duncan Currie said the four-day event was originally scheduled to include four disciplines: super-G, giant slalom, slalom and ski-cross. However, poor weather impacted the U16 Teck Open and organizers had to cancel the super-G and ski-cross events. The ski-cross event was replaced with another giant slalom event on Sunday.

Weather impacted events

Thursday morning of the Teck Open U16 saw weather conditions deteriorate.

“Thursday, the conditions were too soft … the conditions weren’t safe for us to run super-G and then we got loads of snow overnight,” said Currie.

“Massive shout-out to Sun Peaks Resort [and the groomers] for pushing all the snow off half of the runs,” he added.

Without the last-minute snow removal, Currie said they would have lost two days of racing instead of just one.

“There’s quite a big expense for these families [coming] from as far away as Smithers [and] Vancouver to [Rossland] … So if they turn up and they lose two of their four races, that’s a big chunk of racing to lose and a big cost to them.”

The 15 cm snowfall resulted in the OSV run being unusable. Sun Peaks Resort was flexible and their groomers went out at 7 a.m. to ensure half of the OSV was available to set a course, according to Currie.

To compensate for the lack of runs, boys and girls in the slalom event skied each other’s courses for their second run.

After the programs were adjusted, the qualifications criteria for securing a spot on Team BC also had to be adjusted, according to Currie.

All races involve two runs and the run results are normally combined, which determines placings for a race. Instead, the athletes were assessed on three of their best five single-run results.

“[Because of weather impacts BC Alpine] would have only really had maybe two or three races to pull information from. So [race organizers] split the races up and every single run was counted for points for qualifications,” he said.

“[The changed qualifications] gave us more information so we can pick the best team possible. Rather than one race being one result, we made every individual run a result,” Currie said.

Three teen boys, members of the Sun Peaks Alpine Club, stand together in front of event banners after the U16 Teck Open event.
SPAC U16 team members Avery Tymchyna, Douglas Hunter and Mason Poitras. Photo provided.

SPAC members qualify for Canada Games

Douglas Hunter and Avery Tymchyna both qualified for Team BC to represent the province at the 2023 Canada Games in P.E.I and New Brunswick. The alpine ski and para-alpine events take place during the second week of the Canada Games from Feb. 27 to March 5. 

SPAC member Mason Poitras will also be attending as an alternate.

Hunter is ranked first for Team BC. The 15-year-old has been training with SPAC for “around seven years,” he said.

He competed in slalom and giant slalom events and said that the change to giant slalom (GS) after the super-G slalom event was cancelled helped him have a high placement because he excels in GS.

“[Because of the changes in events] I got the opportunity to … have a high placement [and get] more points towards the Canada Games qualification,” he said.

He told SPIN his teammate Mason Poitras’ alternate position was “unfortunate … because Mason had been placing very well all weekend.”

SPAC president Currie said Poitras “was very unlucky — the points were very close but he has been named as an alternate.”

Hunter highlighted one of the best aspects of competing in alpine skiing is the opportunities he has to get to know “the people that you are going to compete with and against.”

He went to the BC Games in 2020 before COVID-19, where he made long-lasting connections with experienced alpine skiers.

“That really helped me after COVID once we came back to ski racing competitions,” said Hunter.

Tymchyna is ranked seventh on Team BC. The 15-year-old told SPIN he’s been skiing since he was 7.

“[Going through SPAC programs has] been a great experience, learning about the sport and just meeting new people all around the province [with] travel, and it’s just amazing,” Tymchyna said.

Tymchyna’s competition was impacted because of poor conditions that caused the cancellation of the super-G slalom race, which he was looking forward to.

Tymchyna told SPIN representing the province at the Canada Games has been a goal of his since last year.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for me and the club to be able to represent the province and be able to achieve my goal,” he said.

Tymchyna said that to prepare for the Games, he’s staying focused, working on his training program, listening to his coaches and relaxing while having fun.

“I’d like to thank all my coaches and all the people who have helped me over the years. I think [alpine skiing] is a really fun passion, and I love the sport,” he said.

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