The Nancy Greene Ski League is alive and well in the Boundary – represented locally by the 32 athletes in the Phoenix Mountain Racers.
Nancy Gabrielse and Becky Shields are two of the organizers for the club. Gabrielse said the purpose of the program is to learn to ski better, and to have fun. “It’s not just a learn to ski race program – it is a learn to ski better program.”
This year the program includes an all mountain component, teaching kids skills to use in all kinds of conditions. They certainly spend time learning to race but they pick up skills that will improve their skiing in the long run,” Nancy insists.
The program is for kids from ages 4 through 12. They have been practicing weekly at Phoenix Mountain since the beginning of the year in preparation for the first of two Kootenay Division league races they will attend this season.
The first took place at Red Mountain last Sunday and the other date is this weekend at Whitewater.
Gabrielse told the Times they have a bigger group of skiers this year than there has been for the last three or four years. “We have a very large group of younger skiers who are advancing quickly,” she said.
All of the Phoenix Mountain racers practice on Saturday mornings and in the afternoon the intermediate and advanced skiers practice other skills – such as moguls, how to edge properly in different condition and the terrain park. “This gives them extra skills and they have more fun,” explained Gabrielse.
A coach is also available on Fridays to help with their skills.
Coaches this year are Astrid Kihl, Kelly Shields, Bill Ahrens, Wayne Smith, Kirstin Gibbs, Dave Fitzgerald and Kyle Smith.
Nancy, Becky and Astrid handle the administrative end of the club.
Ivy Broad is one of the Racers. The grade 4 Hutton student has been skiing in the Nancy Greene League for four years and plans to continue. Her sister Clare said she was looking forward to the Red Mountain race that was scheduled for the next day.
Gabrielse later contacted the Times with the news that on Sunday at Red the club placed third. “Two of our racers brought home medals – Jennifer Shields, Silver (Girls U12) Justin Smuland, Bronze (Boys U14),” she reported.
She also promised to send in results from Whitewater next weekend.
More information can be found online at skiphoenix.com