It’s been a long time, more than 10 years, but the Bear Mountain Snow Stars downhill ski racing club is back. Bear Mountain Ski Hill’s racing club starts up this Saturday, from 12 to 3 p.m., at the ski hill.
The previous iteration of the Snow Stars folded due to a lack of resources and parent volunteers, said Bear Mountain volunteer Bryan Harman, who is involved in getting the program back up and running. He and others involved with the ski hill and the Dawson Creek Ski and Recreation Association were hoping they would be able to capitalize on momentum generated from hosting the 2020 BC Winter Games alpine skiing events, and just under a year later, those hopes have become a reality.
“We are always looking to help kids with their skiing and racing, and the improvement we’ve seen over the years has been phenomenal,” said Harman.
“We have a lot of infrastructure and equipment in place as part of the legacy of hosting the games. We have a fancy, state of the art timing hut, the proper netting, and we even have racing bibs.”
In addition to that, the Ski and Recreation Association recently received $5,000 from a grant through Shell Canada, which will go towards a dual starting gate.
So far, the Snow Stars have been looking to see who’s interested both in volunteering and participating in the club. Tyler Harrison, a former ski racer and coach in Fort St. John, has signed on to be the head coach, and Harman is one of two others in the process of getting recertified so that the Snow Stars can start out with three coaches.
The plan for the rest of this winter season is to have 11 sessions – every Saturday, as well as Sunday, Feb. 13 and Monday Feb. 14 during the Family Day long weekend. Harman hopes to see the club grow throughout the rest of this year and the future seasons, and would like to see kids attend races eventually once COVID-19 restrictions allow for that. For now, the Snow Stars are focusing on getting the ball rolling and generating interest.
“There are lots of opportunities of what we can try and do through this, whether that’s hosting races, having some kind of family fun day event, and helping skiers with their training,” Harman said.