Speed ski racing returning to Shames

A local speed skier has put together the Kermode Tuck, a speed ski race set to take place March 3.

A form of racing will be resurrected on Shames Mountain, as a local speed skier has put together the Kermode Tuck, a speed ski race set to take place March 3.

Gary Maltin said Shames hasn’t hosted a speed ski race since the mid-1990s.

Having participated in more than 30 speed ski races, Maltin is looking forward to sharing a sport he is passionate about that can be conducted in a safe environment for those who have never tried it before.

“It’s in a controlled environment. So it’s in a place where you can safely go way past the speed limit on skis,” Maltin explained.

Racers of all ages will sign up at Shames Mountain on the day of the event. Once registered, Maltin will provide an orientation to speed skiing as well as a demonstration.

The race will take place on the Kermode Cut run, which will be closed off from regular use.

The entire run will be fenced with bee netting to keep other users from crossing the path of the speed skiers and to catch any skiers who fall near the end zone, said Maltin.

Maltin will be setting up four starting locations on the run, gradually increasing  skiers’ distance – and speed – as they become more comfortable on the slopes.

“What I want to do is allow people to go faster than they ever thought they could go on skis,” Maltin said.

He said it’s fun to be able to say that you have reached a specific high speed, something not safe during regular runs with other skiers on a slope.

Winning a speed ski event is simple – whoever goes fastest takes the top spot, something that Maltin said initially attracted him to the sport as it is a pure, simple way to win.

Off-duty RCMP officers will be on hand at the bottom of the Kermode Cut with speed guns to clock everyone’s time.

Maltin said there will also be paramedics on hand should anyone require medical attention, and racers under the age of 19 will need parental

consent on the day of the race.

Registration takes place at 8 a.m., and a speed ski demonstration will take place at 9:30 a.m.

The racing will begin at10 a.m. and run until 3 p.m. and anyone interested is welcome to come watch.

Youth racers must be a part of the Shames Ski Club, Northwest Freeriders or the BC Alpine Ski Association, for which sign up will be available on race day.

Helmets are mandatory and there is a 150 cm minimum length for skis.

Volunteers are still needed for course setup and to assist at the event.

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