Olympic alpine snowboarding coach and Smithereen Jan Wengelin. (Canada Snowboard photo)

Smithereen Jan Wengelin coaches Canada’s Olympic alpine snowboarders

Smithers own Jan Wengelin is in South Korea coaching Canada’s alpine snowboard team.

The sport community in Smithers offers a very broad range of activities. It also tends to offer a very good level of coaching expertise in those activities.

This year, anyone interested in skiing and snowboarding has had a great opportunity to practice and improve. While there are some excellent coaches put there trying to help our youngsters learn and become better level performers, last year we lost an excellent coach.

Jan Wengelin, a 25-year Smithers resident, was hired by the national snowboard team to become the parallel giant slalom head coach on the alpine snowboard team.

“There are a lot of good young kids in the Smithers area. I think I helped ignite a lot of ideas. The bottom line is that if you build something they will come. The club had a good program,” he said in reference to the high level among the youngsters from the Smithers area.

Last week he was in Collingwood, Ont. where he was attending the national championships before heading out to the Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Wengelin said that on the international scale, Canada dropped the program completely after the Sochi Games and they hired him to rebuild it basically from provincial level up to Olympic level.

“You can only do so much in a year but it’s been very positive so far. We reintroduced lots of things that need to be at a core level but it takes time. You don’t build an athletic program in one year. It takes four or five years,” he said.

Wengelin indicated that Canada has a full team going to the Olympics this year and that in some of the disciplines such as slope-style, Canada is the strongest in the world.

“They expect a lot of medals in some disciplines but in alpine it takes more than a year to produce top level results. It’s a matter of dealing with some other items rather than technical issues,” he said.

He said that he was hired to spearhead the program and develop a coaching staff.

“We have a coaching staff of three: one for the Next Gen program, another for the World Cup level,” he said. “We won a World Cup recently in Bulgaria.”

He said that there were no local snowboarders at the Nationals and few athletes from the west coast.

“It’s more freestyle based and board-cross based on the west coast. As you get more east, it becomes more alpine influenced,” he said.

Wengelin has been to the Olympics five times so he brings great experience and knowledge to the team.

He will return here later in February before heading out to Europe for a variety of competitions.

sports@interior-news.com

Just Posted

Upper Skeena Rec Centre now aiming for summer opening

Now-$20-million year-round rec centre has pilot program expanding Indigenous programs

Smithers library goes fine-free

Library board abolishes charges on all items returned after their due date to bolster patronship.

Smithers Christmas bird count results

Over 5,000 birds observed in annual count, including a couple local rarities.

Giesbrecht pleads not guilty in murder trial

Giesbrecht, 67, faces 1st-degree murder of Raymond Bishop, found May 2017 south of Francois Lake.

Bulkley Valley SD 54 superintendent leaving

Chris van der Mark has been superintendent with SD54 for eight years, and has hands full in Cariboo.

UPDATE: B.C. legislature managers accused of excessive travel, personal expense claims

Clerk Craig James, security chief Gary Lenz call allegations ‘completely false’

B.C. man fined $10,000 after leaving moose to suffer before death

Surrey man was convicted last week on three Wildlife Act charges

‘Blue Monday’ isn’t real, but depression can be

CMHA encourages people to prioritize their mental health

Anti-pipeline group wants NEB to consider impact of emissions, climate change

Stand.earth filed NEB motion asking to apply same standard to the project as it did with Energy East pipeline

Parole granted for drunk driver who killed B.C. RCMP officer

Kenneth Jacob Fenton will be able to attend alcohol abuse treatment, nearly three years after crash that killed Const. Sarah Beckett

B.C. man charged in 2014 snake venom death of toddler

Henry Thomas was taking care of the North Vancouver girl the day before she died

B.C.’s largest public-sector union wants inquiry into money laundering, drugs

Union officials say Premier John Horgan and Attorney General David Eby have not ruled out the possibility of a public inquiry

Teen in confrontation with Native American: I didn’t provoke

Nick Sandmann of Covington Catholic High School said he was trying to defuse the situation

Kamala Harris opens U.S. presidential bid in challenge to Trump

The 54-year old portrayed herself as a fighter for justice, decency and equality in a video distributed by her campaign

Most Read