The Smithers Ski and Snowboard Club kicked off the first leg of the annual Shamrock Cup with a record number of participants last weekend.
Thirty skiers and snowboarders between the ages of 10 and 19 took to the slopes of Hudson Bay Mountain racing head-to-head on parallel courses in perfect conditions on Saturday.
“It was unreal — sunny skies, fresh groomed, lots of people showed up,” said head coach Jan Wengelin. “I couldn’t have asked for a better day.
“It’s getting competitive, but in good spirits. They’re not looking so much at who is going to win the race. You know when you race someone else and they’re side by side and you can hear them breathing down your neck and they’re like ‘oh, I’m going to beat you next time!’ It’s fun to see.”
Each racer participated in four runs, with roughly two dozen volunteers helping organize 120 runs in total.
In the fourth annual event, Jason Oliemans took home the top prize in the U18 category finishing in 18.77 seconds, the fastest racer of the event.
“I thought I did pretty well, it’s a fun little course . . . I thought I did a good job of staying early and just having a smooth run down the course. It was a good day for me,” said Oliemans, who has participated in other cup competitions as well.
“The soft course was a bit of a challenge because it quickly becomes rudded up and there becomes holes and lumps in it and when you’re skiing around, it can really buck you around a bunch.”
For the male skiers, Darcy Fraser, Liam Huxtable, Kalum Huxtable, and Oliemans won their respective categories.
For the female skiers, Sage Murphy, Hannah Buchanan, and Chantel Wickson had the fastest times.
In the snowboard categories: Tosh Krauskopf, Cole Pali, Loui Lecourt and Katie Peterson won.
The club also saw a record number of kids on the slopes in just the first leg of the cup competition.
According to Wengelin, they have 127 kids in the program this season, up from last year’s numbers.
He said events like the Shamrock Cup help promote club awareness in the community.
“It’s that healthy competitive spirit between parents showing up, having a laugh and kids going down the course side by side or individually,” said Wengelin, adding that he may consider turning it into a larger competition in the coming years.
“We want to grow that knowledge that ‘hey, this is what we’re working on.’ We want to create skilled athletes in this program . . . it’s huge for us to run these events.”
This was just the kickoff for the second and third parts of the Shamrock Cup that will continue in February and March.
– Sage Murphy
– Clara Marko
– Claire Temblyn
U 14- womens
– Hannah Buchanan
– Chantal Wickson
– Kailian Smale
U 12 Boys
– Darcy Fraser
– Caleb Smale
– Brady Lachance
– Liam Huxtable
– Harrison MacAlonen
– Kalum Huxtable
– Calvin Marko
– Jason Oliemans
– Katie Peterson
– Megan Fraser.
U 12 Men
– Josh Krauskopf
– Toen Krauskopf
– Jasper Rysary
– Cole Pali
– Jack Moran
– Men Loui Le court