Two local snowboarders are carving their way to the top and are heading to the finals of one of the most well-known international snowboarding competitions in the sport.
Ten-year-olds Tosh Krauskopf and Katie Peterson competed at the Legendary Banked Slalom qualifiers at Mount Baker in Washington earlier this month, finishing second and third in their respective categories against snowboarders from around the world.
“It went great,” said Tosh, who finished the Next Generation Boys, ages 11 and under category in 42.53 seconds.
“I practiced here in Smithers and I practiced with my friends and raced against them a couple of times.”
Katie did just as well in the Next Generation Girls, ages 11 and under category, finishing third with a time of 47.85 seconds.
She said it was all about practice.
“Just lots of practice here and practice at different places on Mt. Baker. Practicing on that sort of snow. Their snow is different than ours. Our snow is more dry and theirs is heavier,” she said.
“It was a bit different because we’re not used to it. It made it a little harder because we’re used to racing in our snow.”
In both races, the duo qualified for the finals, which will take place at Mt. Baker next month.
Coach Jason Krauskopf said their training with the Smithers Ski and Snowboard Club helped them with the race.
“I was super happy with all of them,” said Krauskopf. “[The club] does these mini races all the time with gates, and snowboarding isn’t usually about that . . . this course was a lot of those skills.”
“It’s about who has good technique and proper waxing skills that will make up the point five of a second. These kids are very solid and they have flawless runs. Good edge control, good confidence, they know when to enter gates and when to exit and good body positioning and that comes from them starting at such a young age.”
Tosh’s dedication to the sport started when he was under two years old; while Katie started when she was five because she wanted to snowboard with her older brother.
While they often travel to competitions together (each compete in roughly five to six across the province annually), they have very different end goals.
“I want to make it to the Olympics and I want to compete against some people who have been there before,” said Tosh.
While Katie is hoping to continue with it in the future.
“I just want to stay in snowboarding, lots of people when they get older they just don’t think it’s interesting anymore,” said Katie.
Tosh’s eight-year-old brother Toan is one of the younger competitors and finished 10th of 15, just five seconds behind his older brother.
Over the next few weeks, Tosh and Katie will work on fine-tuning their techniques to hopefully shave seconds off their time before heading back out to Washington for the finals on Feb. 21 and 22.