NORTH BATTLEFORD — Table Mountain is set to host the excitement of competitive skiers in a National Ski Cross event for both men’s and women’s events, Feb. 16-18. Opening day will be a training day and time qualifications for seeding athletes with the weekend included races in U12, U14, U15, U19, open and FIS events.
Ski Cross is a race designed for four athletes to be sent on a high-speed track with technical features of high-speed turns, rollers and jumps they must fight through as they make their way to the finish line. Skiers are seeded into brackets based on their time qualifications and do a knockout format where the top two in the heat advance and the bottom two get knocked out. Athletes fight their way through to the last four who compete in the big finals to get awarded first through fourth place in each age category.
With added hype from Olympic coverage of this event, ski cross provides a very entertaining spectator sport for the viewers and the athletes alike.
Organizers Shaun Jamieson, Mia Fairley, Carla Spriggs and Tyler Mack are excited about the opportunity that began with some legacy funding received from the 2018 Provincial Winter Games hosted in North Battleford. Jamieson said these funds allowed capital purchases of all equipment necessary to run a proper ski cross event, including start gate and safety systems.
“This was a kickstart for our club to include this discipline as part of our training and competition focus for our athletes from our Nancy Greene U6 – U10 groups right up to our national U12, U14, U16 & U19 levels,” say Table Mountain organizers.
Jamieson adds, “After the games I took it upon myself to get involved with the western ski cross by volunteering for a NorAm race at Nakiska Ab. I’ve helped officiate four others since, as well as was pulled up to the World Cup this past January. “
After working on the NorAm track for many seasons, Jamieson knew that Table Mountain would be the perfect facility to host a high-calibre race such as ski cross.
“Most alpine disciplines such as Giant Slalom and Super Giant Slalom, we in Saskatchewan struggle as we don’t have the terrain out here to train and race those. Ski cross on the other hand is built on terrain just like what Table Mountain can offer so this makes it a perfect fit.”
Jamieson affirms great support from the club along with a collective effort to bring this event to being has combined to host the Ski Cross competition. He proposed hosting Federation International Ski (FIS) competition last season and Table Mountain was approached in February if they would be interested.
“With that invitation, we felt it was finally Saskatchewan’s opportunity to be part of the western circuit with Nakiska, Edmonton and Big White. “
Any event hosts will attest to the volunteers it takes to pre-plan and host, with Jamieson stating they are looking for, and have, about 40 people needed and to be trained for race day.
“This is our first FIS event and because of the delayed start for snow there was a NorAms in the States that rebooked for the same weekend we were scheduled so our Nakiska group which was scheduled to come, backed out because they can hit two events down there on one flight. We now have 15 FIS athletes coming from Alberta plus all of our Sask. athletes, and a few Alberta national athletes so we should see a total field of roughly 100 racers for that weekend.”
With high hopes of this event providing good traction for future event, organizers say they are looking into hosting a NorAm event again as early as next season. This would pull athletes from the states, Australia, Germany and other countries right here to Saskatchewan and as Jameson affirms, “That’s a big deal!”
With a small delay to season start due to lack of snow, Table Mountain has geared up in a big way to not only host a regular ski season but also promote Saskatchewan athletes in competitive skiing through their own club as well as by hosting events such as these.
The mid-February action provides a great opportunity for local residents and visitors to experience the excitement of a live national competition right here in their home province.
For more than five decades, Table Mountain Ski Resort, near the Battlefords, has been providing downhill skiing opportunities that has grown from a quaint little ski hill to the recreation venue it is today. Table Mountain is located 16 km west of Battleford or 29 km east of Cut Knife on Highway 40, then 9.5 km north and west on a grid road.
Forty-five acres of property offer a wide variety of terrain from well-groomed runs to challenging mogul run or the ever-popular terrain park.
You can find more about Saskatchewan’s premier ski recreation venue at www.tablemountain.ca