A new style of skiing is about to hit Mt. Washington... Freestyle Skiing

With new gear like twin tips, fat and shaped skis; with terrain parks and the influence of snowboarders, young people are flocking back to skiing.

From moguls to big air and tricks in the halfpipe, free-ride skiers are everywhere. Timed to fit with the 2002 Olympics, the Mt. Washington Freestyle Club is planning to ride the wave of excitement over progressive, freestyle skiing.

?We want to provide an all-round skiing experience for the skiers,? says head coach Jon Standing, the Western Canadian freestyle runner-up in 1994-95. The program will feature plenty of exposure to moguls, jumps, halfpipe and trees.

?We want to provide an all-round skiing experience for skiers,? says Standing. ?We?ll coach them in bumps and big air as well as take them to the steep and deep where they can build their confidence and become all-terrain skiers.

?There is more to a mountain than groomed runs,? he adds. Club technical director Stan Hanson, a former Canadian ski team member, plans to make sure the skiers know the basics of skiing before they try the latest airtime ski grab.

?Like they say, anyone can get airborne, but it?s the landing that hurts,? he says. ?I want to see our skiers stable and balanced no matter what the terrain. We teach safety first.?

Club members are from all over the island. The club is the newest member of the BC Freestyle Ski Association, which hosts sanctioned competitions all over the province.

Organizers are hoping to operate every weekend from Dec. 22 to April 6, with two-day and one-day programs.

The Freestyle Club is open to skiers aged 12 to 18. For more information, contact Ann at 339-4249, Heather at (250) 758-3665, Diane at (250) 752-7419 or John at (250) 727-8164.