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RIDING THE SLOPES – Snowboarder Lewis Bunce training on the slopes during Snowboard Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games pre-trials camp Dec. 2-3 at Mount Sima. Photo submitted by AARON FROTTEN

Snowboarders carving toward AWG trials

Snowboard Yukon athletes are tearing up the slopes at Mount Sima in preparation for their upcoming season starting with the Arctic Winter Games trials.

By Dustin Cook on December 13, 2017

Snowboard Yukon athletes are tearing up the slopes at Mount Sima in preparation for their upcoming season starting with the Arctic Winter Games trials.

The team’s trials are set for Jan. 7 at Mt. Sima and in preparation for the competition, the group hosted a pre-trials camp on Dec. 2-3 to get experience in the events for the Games and to hit the slopes early in the season.

Nine young athletes attended the training session, the first time a pre-trials event has been held by the group, Snowboard Yukon technical director Mary Binstead said.

“The goal was to get people out there working with a coach and warming up snowboarding before we throw them into competition,” she said. “We want to attract people who may not have previously been involved in snowboard competitions and make things a little more accessible.”

Three of the nine participants were new competitive athletes, Binstead said, and now they have more experience and training headed into the trials.

This year’s Games in N.W.T will consist of four competitions over a period of four days, and Binstead said the disciplines tend to change for each Games to match what the facilities have to offer.

There will be two freestyle and two race events consisting of big air, rail jam, boardercross and banked slalom.

But with only one day for the trials, Binstead explained they will be hosting the competition with one freestyle event in the morning followed by a race in the afternoon.

The snowboard hopefuls will compete in a slopestyle freestyle event consisting of a judged run of jumps and rails.

They will then compete in the banked slalom race to make one of the eight spots on the team.

Different than in past years, the Games has lowered the age limit to 16 years old rather than 18 for junior athletes.

“The competitive team will have a split focus this year,” Binstead explained as a result of the rule change. “One focus on the Arctic Games and the older group focusing on working towards nationals.”

With both the freestyle Canadian Junior Championships and the boardercross nationals happening around the same time as the Games in March, Binstead said even some of the younger competitors will direct their focus to nationals if those competitions are what they’re better suited for.

This early season has been busy at Mt. Sima with high-level snowboarders visiting from across the country for pre-season training and Binstead said this talent visiting Whitehorse serves as inspiration for the young athletes.

Some of them had the chance to meet and talk with Olympic freestyle snowboarder Max Parrot who was at Mt. Sima gearing up for his second Olympic Games.

“It’s inspirational for the athletes, helps them realize it’s a possibility,” she said. “To see a normal person that worked really hard and made their way up through the ranks.”

The high-level boarders also had the opportunity to train with the Paralympic snowboard team when they were at Mt. Sima in October and the NextGen slopestyle team consisting of young athletes working towards the 2022 Olympic Games.

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