Following the performances of seven Penticton-based snowboarders last weekend, the Apex Mountain Resort is now known for more than just producing some of the province’s best skiers.
Prior to that, the club had never sent a group of local snowboarders to participate in a provincially-sanctioned competition.
Stone Shulman, Jaxon Ede, Chase Giesbrecht, Max Hodges, Connor Price, Nico D’Angelo and Ryker Denich were the athletes responsible for being the first ones, as the group represented the two-year-old Apex Freestyle Snowboard Club (AFSC) at the Big White Resort southeast of Kelowna on Feb. 11 and 12.
“It’s the first time that any rider from Apex has represented (us) at a B.C. snowboard provincial series,” said Josh Shulman, the coach and program director of the AFSC. “All the other clubs in the province now know that we’re here.”
Being there among 90 snowboarders from across B.C., though, wasn’t enough.
More Apex history was made when Ede and Giesbrecht made the event’s finals, with D’Angelo finishing in third place.
“The commitment from the kids to give their all was amazing,” Shulman added. “Seeing our club standing on the podium against these other big clubs was really special.”
The seven Penticton-based athletes range in age from 10 to 13 years old, with all of them making their debuts on the provincial stage last weekend near Kelowna.
They competed against competitors from the North Shore, Mount Washington, Whistler and Sun Peaks snowboard clubs, among others.
Although Shulman notes that Apex has been home to several successful snowboarders in the past, like Donny Ellis and Shane Johnson, last weekend marked the first-ever locally-produced club to appear in a provincial event.
“Our focus is growth and providing an atmosphere for kids to get into that competitive side of snowboarding which hasn’t existed at Apex before,” Shulman said.
“This mountain has a knack for turning out pretty high-end skiers, but I think with a little bit of commitment from the club, coaches and parents, we could do the same with snowboarding.”
Shulman, joined by coaches Jay Tost and David Mirlin, says the AFSC is focused on developing riders to compete at Boardercross, slopestyle and banked slaloms.
He says there is still space available for the club’s 3-day spring break camp next month.