Organizers of an international snowboard competition on Mount Sima set for next March want to help boarders from all over the world get lost in paradise.
In what will be the Yukon’s first Para Snowboard World Cup event, Mount Sima is hosting the “Lost in Paradise” banked slalom event on March 28 and 29, 2024. Taking advantage of the spring snow in the north, “Lost in Paradise will be the final race of the international para snowboarding competition season.
The event will be part of the Shred the North 2023-2024 World Cup Series. Held at mountains across Canada the series features a different snowboarding discipline at each of the series stops: Slopestyle, halfpipe and big air competitions are held in Alberta, alpine races in Ontario, snowboard cross in Quebec, para snowboard cross at Big White near Kelowna, British Columbia and now the para banked slalom event in Whitehorse.
Banked slalom is a downhill race featuring wide u-shaped turns, dips and rollers that the athletes will have to negotiate on their timed downhill runs through the course.
Sam Oettli, Mount Sima’s general manager, said the mountain’s banked slalom course is constructed out of dirt meaning less snow making is required and giving the course consistency. He said less snowmaking results in less environmental impact. He said it is one of the first banked slalom courses built out of dirt.
Oettli said a Federation of International Skiing (FIS) representative had been at Sima inspecting the course prior to the Oct. 18 announcement event for the “Lost in Paradise” races.
He said accessibility for all participants will be ensured with measures including outdoor wheelchair-accessible tents for athletes to gather in at the base of the mountain and suitable overnight accommodations.
Collaborating to bring the event to the Yukon are: Canada Snowboard, Mount Sima, Snowboard Yukon and Sport Yukon. Representatives from all groups gathered at Sima to excitedly announce the schedule for the international competition.
Maggie Dekking, a Canada Snowboard representative told those assembled for the announcement event that Whitehorse can expect to host aroung 50 para-snowboarders from 20 different countries as far away as Japan, Australia, France and the Netherlands.
“Celebrating the spirit of Paris snowboarders from all around the world, it is a platform that not only promotes inclusivity and equality, but also serves as inspiration for countless individuals who face unique challenges in their journey to the pinnacle of snowboarding excellence,” Dekking said of the planned race.
Dekking said the banked slalom race will offer locals a great opportunity to witness world-class snowboarding up close.
Also speaking at the event was Yukon Tourism and Culture Minister John Streicker. He discussed the Yukon’s opportunity to host the event as part of an “incredible journey” Mount Sima has been on over the past decade. He emphasized the training venue that Sima has provided for both Canadian and international winter athletes in recent years.
“It’s been really wonderful to get to share the Yukon with other people from around the world. This is not a big hill. It’s got big spirit. It’s a wonderful place and it means a lot to us and we are so happy to get to share it with others,” Streicker said.
It is fitting that such a high-profile para-snowboard event is being held at Sima as Oettli said the Canadian Paralympic snowboard team was one of the first groups to come to the mountain for training.
“They helped us actually spread the message of what we were trying to do here. And I can’t thank them enough for that, because it’s been their ongoing support coming here and over the years that have really driven this forward,” he said.
Athletes are set to arrive March 25 before having a day to rest up and explore the Yukon, a day of training and then two days of racing.
The event will also feature a chance for members of the public to meet the athletes, a viewing party on a big screen at the base of Mount Sima and a banquet dinner.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com