The Central Alberta Freestyle Ski Club is gearing up for the competition season.
With the opening of the Canyon Ski Hill last weekend, members of the Club’s competitive freestyle skiing program have already begun to hit the slopes in anticipation of another great season of competitions.
“There’s a real upsurge with freestyle skiing, specifically because we’re going to have the 2019 Canadian Winter Games right here in Red Deer,” said Club President Greg Sikora.
The competitive members of the ski club, those aged 12-17 who have been competing for a while, actually work within the program for 10 months out of the year, taking part in dryland training, trampoline, yoga and weights to stay in top physical shape during the summer months while spending the winter out on the slopes.
“The Freestyle Ski Club is basically structured in three different tiers,” Sikora said.
Sikora explained those three tiers consist of the ‘Jumps and Bumps’ program, which is intended for kids aged six to nine, the ‘Freestylerz’, a program for those who are transitioning from learning the basics to becoming competitive, and the ‘Freestyle’ program, which is the competitive level for those who are wanting to take their skiing to the next level.
While the on snow season has already begun for the athletes in the Freestyle program, Sikora said the other two programs are still open for anyone who might want to register.
“We invite athletes in different stages of their development to join the Club basically any time along that progression,” he said, adding that the club supports participants through every step of their training.
“We have coaches, fully trained and paid coaches, throughout that whole profile.”
Although the Freestyle group has already started, he said, the Jumps and Bumps and Freestylerz programs don’t start until January, so registration is still open.
When it comes to the reasons to start freestyle skiing, Sikora said there are a variety of disciplines the sport offers.
“Freestyle skiing can be comprised of many different venues,” he said, explaining participants can choose whether to compete in moguls, slope style, big air, or half pipe.
“There’s all these different course designs and course structures,” he said, adding the events have grown in popularity because of exposure from the Olympics.
Disciplines like slope style are also a form of expression that many skiers prefer.
“It’s a very attractive sport from a skiers’s point of view versus, say, a racers’ point of view where they’re running through gates. There’s nothing wrong with that, absolutely, but it’s more of a free expression of skiing.”
And then there’s the family aspect of the sport.
According to Sikora, many parents get their kids involved in skiing because they can do it as a family.
“(Skiing) affords the parents the opportunity to go to the mountains and ski with the kids,” he said.
Anyone interested in registering for a freestyle skiing program can check out the Club’s web site at www.cafsc.ca.