Vernon’s Kevin Hill (middle) chases American Seth Wescott in World Cup snowboard cross action in Telluride

Vernon’s Kevin Hill (middle) chases American Seth Wescott in World Cup snowboard cross action in Telluride

Hill striving for Sochi Games

Vernon's Kevin Hill refocused as he pushes for national snowboard cross team berth for Sochi Olympics.

The 2012/13 snowboard cross season didn’t exactly go according to plan for Vernon’s Kevin Hill.

Chasing his 2014 Winter Olympic dream turned into quite a high-pressure, stressful season for the 26-year-old.

While Hill turned in some of the best qualifying times of his career, he struggled on race day,  ending the year 34th overall in the World Cup standings.

“I couldn’t pull my racing together,” said Hill, who was a forerunner for Team Canada at the 2010 Olympics.

“Coming into this year, there was a big load of stress put on my back. You either had to win world championships, or the Olympic test event in Sochi, Russia (2014 Olympic host), to guarantee your spot.”

That didn’t happen, so now Hill will have to wait until a month before Olympics and hope his results are enough to earn him a late entry on the team. It’s similar to what happened in Vancouver, only then he was an unknown.

“Just missing out on the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, by the coach’s discretion, makes the upcoming Olympics even more of a desire to be able to show my talents and bring home a medal,” said Hill.

Some of Hill’s season highlights include fourth place at the Neil Edgeworth Banked Slalom in Big White, seventh at the U.S. Grand Prix (he won it last season) and 11th at nationals. He qualified sixth at this year’s world championships, but failed to make it though the first round due to a crash. He finished 33rd.

Hill’s disappointment got to a point where he was sometimes reluctant to send updates to friends and family about his results.

“I had some low points where I was unsure of what to do and what my next move would be concerning my career,” he said. “Each race that went by with a disappointing finish made me want to keep quiet and not tell anyone how I did.

“Every professional sports player has his ups and downs. It is part of the sport and it is something you have to deal with to push through to become the best.”

Hill is one of four members on the men’s national team, and he expects that will be how many compete for Canada in Sochi. If he can maintain his ranking, he believes he will realize his goal of becoming an Olympian.

To improve his chances, he plans to keep his strength up at the gym and eat better when he’s away from home. Hill also plans to race in BMX and mountain biking this spring and summer to keep his competitive mind set.

He thanked sponsors Fitness Max, Bio-X Nutrition, Rancho Vignola, Attridge Ski & Board and Oakley Canada.