The Vernon Ski Club is doing its part to develop the next Ashleigh McIvor or Chris del Bosco.
In the past year, Canadian skiers, particularly from the west, have made their names famous on the world stage in the exciting new alpine skiing discipline of skier cross.
Names like McIvor, del Bosco and Kelowna’s Kelsy Serwa are known world champions and Olympic medalists.
New for the 2011-12 winter season, the Vernon club will incorporate skier cross into its program schedule to enhance the existing slalom, giant slalom and speed disciplines.
Like its snowboard cross counterpart, ski cross incorporates rollers, bank turns and jumps that resemble a motocross track. The design and build of the track is what separates events like the X-Games and grass roots development programs.
The sport development model from Alpine Canada recommends not specializing in any discipline until about 18 years of age.
“Cross training all aspects of alpine racing, along with a good amount of all-mountain skiing, makes for the best training environment for all young skiers,” said Dave Ellis, director of sport with Canada Ski Cross.
“When the time is right the skier can choose what discipline(s) they like the most, and that matches their body size, strength and skill.”
The skier cross development plan at the Vernon club is progressive, said John Armstrong, the club’s program director.
“Safe skill development is our primary focus. We will use the skier cross environment to develop balance and adaptation to changing terrain. The bonus is that the kids have loads of fun while building their confidence.”
Skiers will run the track one at a time, then gradually more skiers will be added to the track as their skill level and confidence builds. The skier cross training will be intermittently scheduled within the regular programs to balance user needs of the skier cross track both within the club and with public skiers.
The competition plan is also progressive. The tracks will be built to suit the skill and confidence levels of the skiers. Also, the format will be one skier at a time until it is appropriate to have more skiers on track at once.
An open entry event will be held during the annual spring break Round Up at Silver Star Mountain Resort.