With more than a 50 per cent increase in participation, the Yukon snowboard program is gaining speed, literally and figuratively.
Sunday’s RBC Riders race at Mt. Sima drew 13 boarders to the slopes, up from eight when the first event was staged over the Christmas break.
The event was the largest RBC Riders competition ever held in the territory.
“It’s really exciting – I think word is spreading,” said Mary Binsted, head coach of Snowboard Yukon. “Friends are bringing friends.
“We’ve had a lot of interest in all of our snowboarding programs this year. We had quite a bit out to our Arctic Winter Games trials and now we have 20 kids out every
weekend training with coaches.
“Some of the riders out today are training with Sandor’s Shredders (snowboarding program), so some of them are on our elite team, training every weekend.
“And we had some brand new members out today that had never been out to anything Snowboard Yukon related before.”
For Haylie Grant, 12, competing in her first RCB Riders race, word of mouth about the race did not need to travel far.
“My sister works here, so I heard about it from her,” said Grant, who has been boarding for three years. “I didn’t go because I wasn’t really ready.
“I thought the jumps were the most fun – and landing them. I did fall twice.”
Although new names peppered the results, many of the usual names topped the divisions.
Whitehorse’s Alidas Jamnicky, 13, not only had the fastest time for his age group, beating out second place Adam Waddington, but the fastest overall completing his
first run with the time of 24.97 seconds. Jamnicky had the fastest time in the first BC Riders race on December 27, also setting the bar on his first run.
As he was in December, Tim Schirmer, 11, was fastest in his age group and second fastest overall, completing the course in 25.65 seconds on his fourth run.
According to Schrimer, the downside of having so many more boarders out is the wear and tear on the course.
“The course was a little bit bumpy,” said Schirmer. “I was the first rider up, so it was nice as the first rider, but after a while the course got a little bit ruined, especially
at the start gate.”
The course, which was designed by retired boardercross rider Norm Curson, was more challenging than December’s RBC Riders event, more than doubling in length
and featuring steeper sections, giving the boarders more speed.
“You don’t want to race the same course over again, so we found some new terrain and combined some good turns on some of the flat areas,” said Binsted. “There
were some drop-offs, which were really nice, and we built some jumps on top of those so they could get some air.
“It was quite a bit longer, quite a bit faster too. I think the times were pretty close to the same, so they were definitely traveling faster.”
The next RBC Riders event is scheduled to take place March 21 at Mt. Maichen in Watson Lake, but the event may be moved to Mt. Sima due to conditions.
“We’ve heard they’re having a bit of a slow snow year, so it’s not confirmed yet where it will be,” said Binsted.
The following weekend Snowboard Yukon will host the Yukon Championships at Mt. Sima, in conjunction with the resort’s weekend festival, Simapalooza.
The RBC Riders Race is a national program sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada. It is intended to draw people to the sport by emphasizing fun and the fundamental