Members of the Yukon Freestyle Ski Team have been winning more and more medals each season for the past few years. That trend will likely continue for years to come.
The Yukon Freestyle Ski Association (YFSA) has received funding to construct a “dry slope” summer training ramp at Whitehorse’s Mount Sima, it was announced Wednesday.
“I was so excited!! I couldn’t focus on anything,” said YFSA president Lynda Harlow in an email to the News. “I actually felt very emotional. It really is great to see how supportive the government is of our athletes! So cool. It is very exciting for our club, the kids and the community.”
The ramp will be covered by an artificial snow material and will be used by skiers to practice aerials during the off-season. It will be located next to the association’s current winter practice area at Sima.
The ramp will be used in conjunction with the massive 15×15-metre airbag – much like those used by Holywood stuntmen – the YFSA purchased in 2012.
“Ramps such as this are relatively new to the sport, but they are all over Europe and many ski hills have them in the States. There are not many in Canada,” said Harlow. “Material has been developed that acts like snow but doesn’t melt and can be placed virtually anywhere you have an airbag. I have been researching this ramp since we got the airbag as some of the information on airbags came from COP (Calgary Olympic Park) in Calgary when they sent me the shots of their airbag.”
To construct the dry slope ramp, the YFSA has received $41,000 from Lotteries Yukon. The final decision to go ahead with the ramp was made after Wednesday’s announcement the YFSA will receive $75,000 through the Yukon government’s Community Development Fund.
“There has been contributions from Kobyashi + Zedda Architects … ATCO Electric Yukon has provided use of survey equipment,” said Harlow. “YFSA will contribute a lot of the labour costs when we can, athletes and parents … We have an airbag company called Katal Innovations assisting us with the 3-D modeling of the site and the drawings for the ramp are key in calculating slope degrees and getting our drawings down for the jump…
Since the ramp will be one of the first in Canada, Harlow hopes Sima will become a summer training hot spot for skiers from across Canada and beyond. The Canadian Freestyle Ski Association is already jumping on board, said Harlow.
“CFSA wants this ramp to be the flagship for the standard of dry slopes in Canada – yes, us!!” she said. “How cool is that?”
Construction of the ramp could begin as early as next week following a land survey. Skiers might start launching off it by the end of September.
After winning its first medal at the Canadian Junior Freestyle Ski Championships in 2013, the Yukon Freestyle Ski Team collected six this past season, including three gold.
“It’s very strange!” said Harlow. “We (will) have a better facility than a lot of places bigger than Whitehorse!
“When the winners were announced in junior nationals and Yukon was announced, one of the kids said that people just looked at each other like… where is that?”
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