Local youths are gearing up for the experience of a lifetime, as they prepare to join 1,500 other competitors in the greater Vernon area for the 2012 BC Winter Games, Feb. 23 – 26.
As Terrace was the 2010 host of the Games, local athletes are no strangers to the event, which sees youths from the ages of 10 – 18 meet every second winter to take part in 15 different sports ranging from hockey to badminton.
Shivohn Peters, now 12, missed the birthday cut-off for the Winter Games last year in Terrace and, after volunteering and watching the 2010 Games, is excited to participate this year in the Alpine Ski event.
“She is pretty worked up and really excited (about competing),” said Rudi Peters, Shivohn’s father and coach, who explained this will be her first provincial event.
Peters will also be coaching 11-year-old Liam Buchanan, and both skiers will be taking part in the slalom, giant slalom and skier-cross events.
He said that Buchanan excels on the slalom because of his agility and Shivohn on the giant slalom and skier-cross because she prefers the speed.
Peters expects both skiers to do well but is more focused on the experience they will gain from an event of this scale.
“It’s like a mini-Olympics,” Peters said, noting it is fun to watch the excitement in the skiers as the games approach.
Shames Mountain ski hill will be sending three of its Northwest Freeriders, all from Kitimat, to take part in the Games, and 12-year-olds Jared Thornton, Braydon Moretti and Nick Ferguson getting ready to take part in moguls and big air freestyle events.
“The idea is for kids to get to do amateur sports at a provincial level,” explained the head instructor at Shames Mountain Chance Healey.
Healey has been working with the skiers for three to four years each and said for Thornton everything about skiing is everything that matters in his life.
“He is on the hill as much as he can and when he is not on the hill, he is daydreaming about the hill,” Healey said.
He described Moretti as a welcome addition to the Northwest Freeriders, nothing that he and his family are at Shames Mountain every weekend.
Healey noted that Ferguson had to chose between attending the games as a skier or a gymnast and that background has lent him solid coordination on the slopes.
“[He is] very good in the air because of his gymnastics background,” Healey said.
The three skiers have been hitting the slopes as much as possible working on all skill sets to get ready for the Games.
“We try to have them good at everything,” Healey said, adding that as youths gain exposure and mature they can pick a discipline to focus on.
Large snowfalls in the area have made for amazing amounts of power this season on Shames Mountain and has also helped for practising big air jumps, he said.
Terrace Minor Hockey will also be represented as it readies to send five female players to join a northwest regional team at the Winter Games.
Deb Wraight, Carley Allison, Ashley Kuehne and Sage and Sydney Desjardins will be joining two players each from Prince Rupert, Houston, Fraser Lake and Smithers along with one player each from Kitimat, Hazelton and Stewart to make up the regional team.
Assistant coach Mario Desjardins said the team may have an advantage at the Games as most of the players have played together in the past and throughout this season
as a part of a bantam rep hockey team.
Desjardins said the players went through a province-wide standard of on and off ice testing to qualify for the Games.
He said all five of the Terrace players are very excited about attending the provincial event.
“That is what the BC Winter Games is all about, it’s about the experience and meeting new people and just being involved in such a wide range of athletes all together.” Desjardins said. “It’s going to be something they (the players) will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Also competing at the games will be members from the Terrace Junior Badminton club, local ringette players and a cross-country skier.
Look for information in the Terrace Standard’s next edition on more local competitors attending the BC Winter Games.