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Mogul nationals this weekend at Marmot in Jasper

Luke Ulsifer at a World Cup competition in January in Calgary. | Anton van der Merwe/Action Media Projects photos

This weekend Jasper will be flooded with 90 world-class athletes, their support teams and untold scores of spectators as Marmot Basin hosts national moguls championships for FreeStyle Canada. Competition coordinator Cam Jenkins had a chat with the Fitzhugh’s Craig Gilbert about the impending mania.

Fitzhugh: What can we expect?

Cam Jenkins: To be able to watch in person some of these Olympians and national team members competing face-to-face is pretty remarkable.

Most of the people that are going to be the most excited are already skiers who watched the Olympics.

We’re trying to nail down the possibility of getting a live stream going but we don’t have that nailed down quite yet.

For most people, even if you’re standing there and you’ve been in the sport awhile, it’s a whole other level of appreciation, how easy they make it and just how fast and how graceful and how big the jumps are, and how far they go.

These guys are doing three mogul turns a second. It’s pretty cool. The course is right under the two chairs so the people riding the chairs are going to have a reason to come over and see what’s going on.

Fitz: Can you give me an idea of how much work goes into an event like this?

Cam: It really takes a big community to pull this together and Marmot Basin has been really instrumental in being able to work with guys like Rob Ellen and Jason Pattison starting last June-July putting this together. Working with ski patrol, working with Gunner, who’s going to be my CAT operator again. You’re looking at five or six guys putting in 90 hours each over seven or eight days.

Unlike lots of sports like hockey or basketball where the venue is already there and you turn on the lights and you can have a game, we work for about a week to build the course so it’s appropriate for this level of competition and most importantly to make it safe.

Fitz: How does one land a competition of this calibre?

Cam: The first really big event that Jasper really put on was the 2011 junior nationals. We hosted slopestyle, big air, single and dual moguls. Lots of the kids that competed at that time went on to be on the national team. It was a really neat experience for Jasper and it kind of whetted the thirst to host another big national event.

I sit as the co-chair and director of competition for Alberta Freestyle. Marmot has won a host resort of excellence with Freestyle Canada. They were given a really nice award from Alberta, too. Marmot was wanting to host a bigger event and we had to wait for a lot of it to hit a critical mass; to prove the people on the ground have the skill set to put this on.

Fitz: What is the state of the butterflies in your stomach?

Cam: I love doing this stuff. It’s a bit nerve-wracking only because I love Jasper and Marmot and I want to show off what we can do here. The Jasper Freeride Ski Team is my old alma mater. I love that club to bits, I know all of the coaches. I’m really proud to be a contributing piece to this event.

I’ve been around these athletes we’re going to be seeing at World Cups I’ve worked in Jasper. Our kids have ridden the t-bars with a lot of these kids. It has such a small town feel to it, the kids will be wowed but they’ll see their heroes are just like them 10 years ago.

Fitz: These teams are going to swamp the townsite a bit as well?

Cam: They’re going to be here, walking around town in their national team coats. Super-identifiable. We’ve got four kids on the national team who grew up skiing in Jasper. Luke Ulsifer is a Grande Prairie kid. For some of these kids to come and compete at this level on what is effectively their home hill is going to be really special.

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