Local athletes take on Ski Cross Series

Tiana Gamroth of Halkirk, Kiersten Vincett of Galahad and Hannah Jackson of Castor and an unknown skier are captured while competing during a Ski Cross event at Sunridge area (Edmonton), their home training track.  ECA Review/Submitted.

Keatz Barber of Viking earned a silver medal and Trent Stenlund of Galahad earned gold during a Ski Cross competition held in Lake Louise on Feb. 26-28.  ECA Review/Submitted.

submitted by Penny Lindballe-Vincett

Skiers from the Valley Alpine Ski Club have taken on a new challenge this season, expanding their training and competition schedule to include Ski Cross.

This action packed sport made it’s Olympic debut at Winter Games 2010 in Vancouver.

The Ski Cross track consists of natural and artificial features such as banked turns, jumps, Wu Tangs and rollers.  What truly set’s the sport apart from other skiing disciplines is the fact that there are four skiers competing in the track at the same time (similar to Moto-Cross).

Training started in early December with coach Dan Twardzik from St. Albert.  The athletes travelled weekly to Sunridge ski area in Edmonton in order to utilize their Ski Cross Track as well as strengthen their existing alpine race skills acquired through years of training at Valley Ski Club, Alliance.

After almost two months of training, the team boarded a bus for Big White Ski area in Kelowna BC, January 22-24,  for the first stop on  the Matrix Western Canadian Ski Cross Series.

Teams from B.C., Alberta and even Washington State attended the three day event which saw over 80 athletes compete.  After a very foggy training day, the weather improved and the race ran smoothly Saturday and Sunday.

Trent Stenlund of Galahad placed 4th and 5th, Keatz Barber of Viking, 5th and 4th, Tiana Gamroth of Halkirk brought home two bronze, Kiersten Vincett of Galahad two silver, Maren Vincett 6th place finish and bronze and Ian Vincett 5th and 6th.

Two weeks later they competed on what has become their “home track” at Sunridge Ski Area in Edmonton.

Unfortunately Trent Stenlund missed the race due to injury but the rest of the team had a great showing.

Keatz Barber – gold, Tiana Gamroth – gold, Kiersten Vincett – silver, Maren Vincett 4th, Ian Vincett – silver and Hannah Jackson of Castor,  4th.

Maggie Smith of Viking and Kiara Gamroth also joined the team to give Ski Cross a try and despite great races, did not advance to the final rounds.

The second stop of the Matrix Western Ski Cross Series was held at Lake Louise Ski Resort, February 26-28.

The field had grown from 80 competitors in Kelowna to over 180 for this competition.

A narrow and technical course provided some challenges including some spectacular crashes.
However, the athletes rose to the challenge once again securing spots on the podium.

Trent Stenlund – silver and gold, Keatz Barber – silver, Tiana Gamroth – two silver, Kiersten Vincett 4th and bronze.

Hannah Jackson was not able to secure a berth in the final round and Ian Vincett was sidelined with an injury.

The Western Series will come to a close March 11 – 13 at Fernie Area Resort in Fernie, B.C.  The team will be looking to these results to advance their standings in the overall series points, with many members poised to finish in the top  three of the series.

“It’s been great to have a new challenge,” says Kiersten Vincett “Ski Cross has renewed my interest in ski racing.”  And — thanks to these athletes, a lot of people are looking up “Valley Ski Hill” on the map.

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