Phoenix Mountain Racers looking ahead to exciting year with funding boost
A $2,000 government grant will give the Phoenix Mountain Ski Racers an extra leg up this ski season and the start of a new ski-cross training area at Phoenix Ski Hill.
Late last month the Ministry of Community, Sport and Cultural Development granted the organization with $2,000 through the Local Sport Development Fund, which is administered through viaSport.
The Local Sport Development Fund the money is from was created in 2008 in the lead-up to the Olympics as part of 2010 Legacies Now.
The money is meant to help establish or expand sport programs so that more British Columbians will have access to sporting opportunities.
“The 2010 Games are just a memory now, but their legacy lives on in the
Local Sport Development Fund, and for the young athletes it provides
greater opportunities to have fun and compete,” said Boundary-Similkameen MLA John Slater in a press release.
The Phoenix Mountain Ski Racers will use their new found funds for training their volunteer coaches and to establish a new beginner level ski-cross training area on a flat area at Phoenix Ski Hill.
The organization also recently received a $500 grant from the Royal Canadian Legion in Grand Forks.
“We really depend on the money from the community and we’re very grateful,” said Astrid Kihl, coach and director for both the racers and Phoenix Mountain Alpine Ski Society.
She said all the coaches are volunteers and it will be nice to provide them with some extra training to help them in instructing the young skiers.
About 30 racers between four and 12 years old are expected to register for the team this year. The group is making a comeback. It was started in the 1980s, at which time there was as many as 100 participants, said Kihl.
“There is lots of interest this year, especially after taking home the gold medal in the finals last year,” said Kihl. “There is renewed interest in our racers and we are keen to take on as many kids as we can. They learn skills on how to be competent skiers and they make friends to ski around the mountain with.”
The team is not about teaching skiing. The participants must know how to ski on their own and be able to travel up the T-Bar by themselves before being considered for the team.
What the coaches do is help the skiers become racers and they then compete throughout the region.
The new ski-cross training area will be on a flat area of the ski area and will be used for beginners to learn the sport, said Kihl. She said despite the reputation ski-cross has had, it can be useful in training the young skiers to have more control and coordination while skiing, she said.
While the ski-cross area might not be ready for this ski season, the ball is rolling for next year, said Kihl.
Be sure to earmark March 10 on your calendar. This year Phoenix Ski Hill is hosting the Nancy Green Zone Finals for the West Kootenay Region.
“We’re expecting more than 140 racers and their families,” said Kihl, adding it will bring a big economic boost to the area too. “It will be a big weekend for Grand Forks.”
For more information about the Phoenix Mountain Ski Racers visit the Phoenix Ski Hill website at http://www.skiphoenix.com/nancy-greene.htm. Registration for the 2013 ski season is on Saturday, Jan. 5 at Phoenix Ski Hill from 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. The first practice is set for the same day from 10 a.m. to noon on the hill. The registration form is available online at the website noted above. Cost is $140 for the first skier in a family and $130 for every child after that.