A ski race scheduled for late November is a definite step up for Whitehorse’s Mount Sima.
The local slopes will be hosting the territory’s first-ever Fédération Internationale de Ski (FIS), alpine ski races on Nov. 18 and 19. Sima has already been the host of a preseason training program that brings some of Canada’s best winter athletes to the hill to take advantage of the earlier northern winter. The FIS races will offer those athletes an earlier chance to compete and could also draw entrants from outside Canada.
“It’s super exciting for our Mount Sima team,” said Sam Oettli, the mountain’s general manager.
“We’ve been working on this in the background for quite some time and seeing if there was any interest from clubs and teams from across the country. There was a lot of interest that’s why we moved forward.”
Oettli said the FIS races will be the highest level and most prestigious ski event Sima has ever hosted with only the ski events of the 2007 Canada Winter Games coming close.
The FIS event, both Slalom and Giant Slalom races, will be held on the Dan’s Descent run. It will be the first event of the FIS season on Canadian soil.
Oettli said he has been discussing the possibility of hosting an FIS event with Sima’s preseason training coordinator for roughly two years. He said coaches who host preseason training at Sima were enthusiastic about giving their athletes an early shot at international competition. Alpine Yukon was also on board, putting the request for the race to FIS and Alpine Canada visited the mountain last spring to ensure the run for the race met FIS’ standards.
Although the next major race in southern Canada is only the weekend after the scheduled FIS race in Whitehorse, Oettli said for the elite skiers getting on snow just a few days earlier can be a big advantage. He said for the skiers who participate in the FIS race, having a competition behind them that early in the season will also help them tune up mentally and allow them to begin accumulating points for the international competition circuit.
The event is capped at 120 skiers, 60 men and 60 women.
Oettli said in getting set up for the FIS race, Mount Sima has been grateful for administrative support from Sport Yukon. More support will be needed in the lead up and on the race days and Oettli added that a call for volunteers would be going out in the coming weeks.
Contact Jim Elliot at email@example.com