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Jasper Ski Team wraps up season

Lucas Habib | Special to the Fitzhugh

That’s it. Marmot is closed. Winter’s over. Time for a retrospective.

Like many other sports, the Jasper Ski Team was back in action this winter after a couple of competition-free springs. Skis waxed, edges sharpened and buffs over their face. In the chairlift line at least.

The athletes were very happy to be back to real races. Depending on age, the skiers competed in the Jasper Junior Olympics here at Marmot Basin as well as races in Panorama, Nakiska, Canyon and Lake Louise.

This year, the team’s age groups ranged from six to 14 years old. When they start, they are full-on pizza skiers, and by the time they get to the older groups, they are carving far, far better than their parents.

The season featured lots of intra-team rivalries that pushed the kids to ski their best. For example, in the U14 group, Rylan Wadsworth and Rafael Fortin have duelled for years, usually with one or the other at the top of the podium. This year was Rylan’s turn, finishing first in two races at the Jasper Junior Olympics in early March.

As usual, the races featured extremely tough competition with the Calgary and Edmonton kids, who have the advantage of being able to train gates at night. But we have raised our skiers to be equally comfortable on the blue ice turns of Dromedary or shredding Cornice and Tres Hombres.

Graduates of the team have also gone on to great things this year, including the Shepherd and Kertesz-Knight siblings tearing up the Alberta ski circuit and rocketing up the FIS rankings. When spring skiing finally arrived, the team turned out to Marmot for the annual fun race.

Kids vs. parents and coaches on Porteous Way under sunny skies; a great way to wrap up the season. Even the eight-year-olds proved they are slicker skiers than their parents. The RCMP even showed up with a radar gun to clock the racers in a test of pure speed; Jordyn Oxley won with an astounding 72 km/h. 

Thanks to all of the coaches and volunteers – see you in November!

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