Jasper Ski Team wraps up season
The Jasper Ski Team completed its season with a final fun day on April 26.
It included a speed course, as well as a dual slalom. Racers and parents, ranging in age from six to 60, challenged each other, with the fastest speeds reaching almost 110 km per hour.
The day ended with a final banquet, held at the Sawridge Inn and Conference Centre, and included an incredible slideshow presented by the U14 skiers.
The evening also included the presentation of awards for the most improved athletes, as well as the athletes with the most sportsmanship throughout the season.
It was another season of great experiences and happy memories for the Jasper Ski Team.
But, this year’s season ends on a sad note, with many of the Jasper U16 Alpine Ski Team embers finishing their last year of racing with the team. Some of those athletes have been with Jasper U16 coach Brent Schleppe for more than seven years and with the Jasper Ski Team for up to 10 years.
At the year-end banquet, Schleppe said it’s hard to believe that most of the U16 athletes won’t be racing next season. Graduating from the program are Ethan Gillese, Patrick Mahler, Maggie McKenney, Nicole Frechette, Kala Schleppe and Jacquelyn Proc.
Schleppe said the skills these athletes have acquired and their tremendous commitment to the sport will contribute greatly to their success in whatever careers they pursue into the future, and he congratulated them for their success.
Recognition was also given to the parents of the athletes for their physical and financial support over the years, as it’s a huge commitment to ensure ski racers get to all of their competitions.
The Jasper U16 athletes trained a lot again this year, with 91 days travelling and on the snow, mostly away from Jasper. Twenty of those days were race days.
Marmot Basin and its staff were also recognized at the banquet for all of their efforts to accommodate the team when it was training at home. With lots of snow at Marmot this season, the training conditions were great throughout April.
Schleppe also commented on the team’s amazing energy, positive spirit and bond, and commended each of the athletes for their strong personal characteristics and skiing abilities.
The athletes had many podium and top 10 results provincially and some great results at the Canadian American competitions in Apex B.C., racing against top Western U.S. and Canadian athletes.
Walter Ostrander and Saje Rayner have another season in U16, and most of the graduating athletes will provide coaching assistance to the Jasper Ski Team next season.
Next year, Jackie Proc will race in the U18 program, which requires travel, training and race commitments with another team away from Jasper.
Special to the Fitzhugh