Cold Lake skiers cause a flurry at Junior Olympics

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Local skiers put Cold Lake on the alpine racing map as they competed in the annual Jasper Junior Olympics.

On March 4 and 5, 12 racers from Cold Lake’s Kinosoo Blizzards were at Marmot Basin for the largest Alberta Alpine North Zone competition of the season.

“I am super proud. I’m the president of the club and I was there with three of my own children racing… just to see these athletes of ours attend these races and put on the show that they do makes me overjoyed and so proud to be part of this club,” said Cold Lake Alpine Ski Society president Monique Levesque.

The junior Olympics saw around 400 skiers between the ages of four and 11 from a number of different clubs, including Red Deer, Edmonton, Jasper, Fort McMurray and Grande Prairie. While it was tough competition, the Kinosoo Blizzards held their own, with several racers placing in the top 10.

In the giant slalom race on March 4, Annabelle Iverson got third place in girls under seven, and Eva Schafer came in third for girls under nine. Michael Levesque placed fourth out of 38 competitors in boys under nine. On the upper course, Ben Sylvestre finished in the sixth spot for boys under 12 and Chiara Harris came in 10th among girls under 12.

“The level of competition between the kids, it’s friendly yet they’re competitive. The kids seem to all get along well, yet when it comes to head-to-head races they’re focused,” said Levesque, adding that despite being a smaller club, it’s not unusual to have their racers on the podium.

“As a small club, with only 32 racers, we really make a name for ourselves. Our racers are, if not on the podium, close to being within reach of it. Generally, most of our racers are in the top 10, so we have good representation for our club.”

Together, the Kinosoo Blizzards took second place in the dual slalom team race on day two of the competition.

Each skier went up against someone from another club, whoever won that particular race earned a point for their team. At the end, the points were tallied up to decide the placements. There were around eight clubs participating in the team race.

Even having a disadvantage with two racers away that day, Levesque expressed that the team really gave it their all.

“Definitely for us it was a great win. When they were announcing the winners for that award, they said ‘our favourite club from up north, they put on a fantastic race and one of the best races of the season.’ They recognized us as being a club that really has come together.”

The season isn’t over yet for a number of Kinosoo Blizzards. The north zone racers will have their last competition on March 25-26, while those who compete in the mountain series have races scheduled up until the end of April.

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