Jul 1, 2016 | Marmot, Summer 2016

News in Brief

Encompassing people, places and happenings at Mount Washington.

Life Savers Honoured

Members of the Mount Washington Ski Patrol Association as well as some of the pro patrollers were honoured by British Columbia LieutenantGovernor Judith Guichon in May for their role in saving a skier’s life this winter.

Ski Patrol Association members Derek Tolmie, Don McCauley and Carla Valentine, and pro patrollers Sandra McLaughlin, Ian McConnell, Talia Major, Josh Morris, Charlie Eaton, Dan Goodwin, Kianna Thistlethwaite, Dr. Gene Filanovsky, Tina Webber and Michael Hamilton received the Order of St. John Lifesaving Award at Government House in Victoria.

“On Feb. 5, 2016 in Courtenay, BC, the recipients worked as a team and used their first aid skills to help save a life,” said Maria Bekiaris, St. John Ambulance marketing and communications coordinator.

“While skiing at Mount Washington, several people witnessed a man suddenly collapse on the hill. Skiers and responding members of the ski patrol immediately went to his aid,” Bekiaris related.

The man wasn’t breathing and did not have a pulse. Ski patrol members started CPR, and an automated external defibrillator that is located at the Resort was brought to the scene. “The casualty was resuscitated,” Bekiaris said. He was transported to an ambulance and taken to hospital in town.

“Without the immediate application of CPR and use of the AED equipment, the casualty might not have survived,” she said.

“The recipients are to be commended for their part in administration of first aid to save a life.”

The Order of St. John recognizes individuals or groups that have saved or attempted to save a life, regardless of the risk, through the application of first aid and skills.

Al Wedel Honoured

On his 86th birthday, Al Wedel, a retired music teacher, was honoured by having a ski run at Mount Washington Alpine Resort named after him.

Wedel has been a teacher all his life, teaching professional career. When he retired from teaching music, Wedel decided that teaching skiing at Mount Washington Alpine Resort would be a great “retirement” activity. He could remain active while sharing his passion for skiing with others.

Wedel has been an active pro at Mount Washington for more than 25 years and still teaches full time.

“In the snow sports world there is often one legendary ski pro that has been with the snow school for a long time,” Snow School Director Mike Manara said.

“At Mount Washington, Al Wedel is that guy.” Manara spearheaded the run-naming project. “Al exemplifies not only the traits of a great ski pro but a great staff member. He is accountable, passionate and works with integrity. He is a team player, who works hard and plays hard.”

To honour Wedel, the Resort has named a run in the beginner area ‘Wedel’s Way’. “This run is more than just a run,” says Manara. “It exemplifies who Al is and what he means to our team. He is a role model for other staff on the mountain.”

Some Familiar Names Grace the 2016-17 Alpine Canada Alpine Ski Team Lists

Mathieu Leduc of Comox has been named to the 2016-17 Canada Ski Cross Team. Former Olympian Braydon Luscombe of Duncan, who calls Mount Washington his home mountain, has been named to the 2016-17 Canadian ParaAlpine Ski Team. And Melissa Pemble of Victoria, who attended Podium of Life Ski Academy when it was located at Mount Washington, has been named to the Para-Alpine Development Team.

Leduc, Luscombe and Pemble are among 35 Alpine, Para-Alpine and Ski Cross athletes who will form the respective National Teams that will compete on the World Cup circuits.

Next year will be a world championship year for Alpine Canada Alpine’s teams, all of which have the potential to be podium contenders.

You can follow our local athletes on their respective social media, or the Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts for the ACA (search Alpine Canada).

Strathcona Nordics Compete At BC Winter Games

Twenty skiers from the Strathcona Nordics and Mount Washington Ski Club represented Mount Washington at the BC Winter Games in Penticton in late February.

Aiden Noble, Stephen Lamon, Zander Swift, Taz Oldaker, Calder Guimond, Emmy Stapff, Amelia Wells, Emma Wong and Annelies Henckel competed for the Nordics. Anja Leikermoser, Shelby Nilsen,  Emilly Johnston, Brooke Taylor, Isabella Cross, Ian Leighton, Eric Ashton, Luke Hoefer, Trent Perras, Griffin Hart and Luka Djurickovic competed for the Ski Club.

Congratulations to all athletes for their achievements.

John Trimmer Honoured as Head Coach of the Year

Mount Washington Ski Club head coach John Trimmer had a golden season this year. Trimmer was named Head Coach of the Year by BC Alpine at the inaugural Goldie Awards, held in Kamloops. Trimmer’s was one of eight awards handed out at the event. “I can’t imagine a more deserving recipient,” Club Member Mathieu Leduc posted on Facebook. “Truly a love for the sport and a community.”

Darcy Sharpe Competes in X Games

Cassie wasn’t the only Sharpe to compete at the X Games in Aspen, Colo. in January. Her brother Darcy finished sixth in both Men’s Slopestyle and Big Air in his first appearance at the X Games.

Spencer O’Brien Wins X Games Gold

Olympic Snowboarder Spencer O’Brien, who grew up on the snow at Mount Washington Alpine Resort, also won Gold at the X Games in Aspen, in Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle. O’Brien had a clean run and landed a switch backside 720 at the X Games in Aspen, Colo. in January.

“Today was very, very validating for me,” said O’Brien, who last year landed the first-ever backside 900 in an X Games Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Final.  This was the 27-year-old’s 10th X Games and brings her medal count to five (one Gold, one Silver and three Bronze). O’Brien also placed Second in the Women’s Snowboard Slopestyle Semifinal at the Dew Tour Breckenridge in Colorado in December 2015. This was an Event that O’Brien won in 2012.

11 Medals for Strathcona Nordics

Six Strathcona Nordics athletes accumulated 11 Medals in three days at the Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships in Prince George in February.

“The athletes showed tremendous consistency and gritty racing,” Nordics’ Head Coach Andrea Stapff said.

The Event turned out to be a family affair, with siblings Tallon and Aiden Noble, Ross and Stephen Lamon, and Alec and Emmy Stapff representing the Nordics. Emmy Stapff won Bronze in the Midget Girls’ 1.2-kilometre Classic Sprint Race. Aiden Noble dominated all three of his Midget Boys Races, winning three Gold Medals. Stephen Lamon, also in the Midget Boys Category, was not far behind, bringing home a Silver and two Bronze Medals. Ross Lamon won Bronze in the Juvenile Boys’ Sprint Race and Silver in the Long Distance Classic Race. Tallon Noble won Silver and Bronze in two Junior Boys Distance Events.

Cassie Sharpe Brings Home X Games Gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox has had a dream season with the national freestyle ski team in 2016. Sharpe won gold in women’s ski superpipe at the X Games in Oslo, Norway on Feb. 28. Earlier in the year she had an impressive fourth-place finish in Aspen in her X Games. And on May 19, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) honoured her with the Most Outstanding Performance of the Year in
Halfpipe for her Gold Medal.

“I’m on cloud nine right now,” Sharpe said following her golden win – her first-ever Gold Medal win at the X Games – where she held off Olympic champion and four-time X Games Gold Medalist, Maddie Bowman, of the US.

“I came here knowing that I had a chance to medal, but I never thought I could end up on top with the likes of Maddie Bowman,” she said.

“When I was growing up, the X Games was the dream and the biggest event you could go to before the Olympic Games added our sport. I’m just so happy to be here and to be able to perform in front of such a huge crowd.” Sharpe is the first Canadian woman to win X Games Superpipe Gold since Roz Groenewould won Double Gold in 2012. Sharpe won the CFSA High Performance Rookie of the Year Award in 2015.

‘Never Win’ Johnson Flies Westjet Skies

A retired Duncan skier felt the luck o’ the Irish in March, thanks to the Herb Bradley Challenge at Mount Washington. Bruce Johnson bought a Herb Bradley Challenge raffle ticket thinking he was really making a donation, because “I never win anything,” he said.

Johnson proved himself wrong when he won two flights to anywhere WestJet flies. He chose Ireland.

Chairlift To Success Raises Money for VIMSS

The Chairlift to Success was a success this winter. Spencer Hay, 19, skied 12 straight hours on March 12 at Mount Washington and raised more than $2,000 for the Vancouver Island Mountain Sports Society. “The event went great,” Hay said. “I skied for the full 12 hours without any breaks. Pretty tired and cold near the end. “

Hay teamed up with VIMSS because he wanted to raise money to assist individuals and make a direct impact on his community. “VIMSS is the perfect charity as it helps local mountain athletes pursue and excel at their sport,” Hay said.

One of VIMSS’ mandates is to provide annual grants to Vancouver Island mountain sport athletes; money raised from Chairlift to Success will provide additional grants in 2016. “It’s amazing when someone approaches you with a new and unique idea, and then has the skill and dedication to carry out the initiative,”  says VIMSS chair Karen Bonell.

Hay’s ski-a-thon was filmed for a video, which can be seen on YouTube (search “Chairlift to success”)

$15,000 Raised For Adaptive Sports

Fifteen teams raised $15,000 for the Vancouver Island Society for Adaptive Snowsports (VISAS) during the annual Herb Bradley Challenge in February.

The challenge is named after the late Herb Bradley, founder of adaptive snowsports in the Comox Valley. He led a small group of outdoor enthusiasts at Forbidden Plateau Ski Lodge in the early 1960s and began offering ski instruction for people with physical and mental disabilities. The Vancouver Island Skiing for the Disabled Society was officially established at Mount Washington as a non-profit, charitable society in 1992. The organization (now known as VISAS) now has 90 volunteer instructors and supports more than 500 participants each season.

Investors Group won first place in the slalom course, Westview Ford was second and Thermo Tec third. Westview Ford was the fastest overall team, while Bedrock Beauties won the team spirit award. Corey Nickerson was the fastest overall athlete after finishing the course in 15 seconds.

Forsythe and Butler Named to Viasport Advisory Group

A pair of Comox Valley athletes has been named to ViaSport’s Girls and Women Advisory Group for sport and physical activity in British Columbia.

Olympian Allison Forsyth, who started her alpine skiing career at Mount Washington Alpine Resort and is now based in North Vancouver, joined the group last March. Robyn Butler, a marketing specialist with the Comox Valley Regional District, joined in February. A former competitive figure skater, Butler has been involved with the Active Comox Valley steering committee, which addresses barriers to providing accessible and affordable physical activity opportunities to engage community spirit and participation.

This is the second year for the advisory group, comprising 13 female sport leaders. “Creating more equitable opportunities for girls and women in sport is a priority for the province of B.C.,” Peter  Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development said in a press release. “Having the right leaders around the table is crucial as we start to translate our goals into action.”

ViaSport’s goal is to see 50 per cent female representation across all levels of sport in B.C. by the year 2020, viaSport CEO Sheila Bouman said.

“Currently at 42%, we are proud to have some of B.C.’s top thought leaders and sector experts working with us to achieve this goal.”

Discovery Channel’s ‘Daily Planet’ Films on Mount Washington

Residents living on Vancouver Island know it’s possible to ski and surf on the same day. Visitors often scoff at the idea: but one television program has given them proof that it can really happen.

Mount Washington Alpine Resort hosted the Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet TV show this past winter to prove the theory correct. “As weather-driven sports go, ‘ski’ and ‘surf’ are at opposite ends of the spectrum,” Daily Planet field correspondent Sean McShane said as he ticked off skiing and surfing in the same day from his bucket list. “But a handful of spots on the planet put both in reach.”

New Air Service from Victoria and Abbotsford

Mount Washington just got a little closer to Victoria and Abbotsford. Island Express Air announced in April that it has launched a new daily air service to Abbotsford and Victoria from the Comox Valley. The service started May 16. The airline is also offering flights to Boundary Bay Airport in Delta, and service to Powell River for an add-on fare.

That means travellers coming from those destinations can connect much easier with the Comox Valley. “This is a niche market that has been underserved and we are pleased that Island Express
Air has seized the opportunity to cater to those passengers who are looking for another way to access those destinations,” said Fred Bigelow, CEO at Comox Airport (YQQ).

“Our flight times have been built with the business traveller in mind but are also well suited to the leisure traveller who wants to avoid taking up half of their day driving or waiting for the ferry,” Island Express Air owner Gerry Visser said.

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