New ski jump camp attracts kids to the sport

Posted: March 4, 2014 by kirisyko in Fitness and Training, Skiing, Winter
Tags: , ,
 - William Lebrun-Storie, 9, takes part in a ski jumping camp at Whistler Olympic Park on Saturday (March 1). - Photo by David Buzzard /
Photo by David Buzzard /
William Lebrun-Storie, 9, takes part in a ski jumping camp at Whistler Olympic Park on Saturday (March 1).

Over a dozen seven to 13 year olds got to realize their dreams of flying last weekend (March 1 – 2) when Whistler Sports Legacies hosted the first of several Flight 2022 ski-jumping camps at Whistler Olympic Park (WOP).

Most kids in attendance were from the Sea to Sky region and had some experience on skis. William Lebrun-Storie, a nine-year-old Squamish resident who has tried biathlon and Nordic skiing, said he was very excited about the camp. “I didn’t know what to expect,” he said.

When asked if he would be back next weekend (March 8 and 9) for the second installment, he looked at his mother who nodded before he replied, “Definitely.”

When ski jumping was broadcast across the globe from the Sochi Olympics last month, millions of people watched ski jumpers soar dozens of metres through the air before returning to earth to land gracefully on their oversized skis. For the first time, women’s ski jumping was an Olympic event, inspiring a new generation of young girls to give the sport a try.

“It was really cool to see female ski jumping in the Olympics because it had always been a bit of a guys’ sport and it was cool to see that women were doing it as well,” said Julia Mamen, a camper from the Hollyburn Ski Club in Vancouver.

On Saturday, the camp began by getting jumpers used to the equipment and riding a small hill with rollers and other features. They were coached on body position and prepared for their first jumps by Whistler’s Tom Thompson, a former member of the Canadian national team who has competed on the World Cup circuit in ski jumping.

In the afternoon the participants were taken to a beginner-sized jump where they got to experience some airtime under Thompson’s watchful eye. The participants progressed on every jump, and as their confidence grew they travelled further down the landing area as the day went on.

The camp is part of the new initiatives that WOP is pursing after being named the joint National Training Centre for ski jumping with Canada Olympic Park in Calgary. “This means that (ski jumpers) will be using our training facilities on a regular basis,” said John Heilig, the sport manager at WOP. “As part of that we are building 20 and 40-metre training jumps to introduce new kids to ski jumping.”

One-day sessions will be held again on March 8 and 9, and will be followed by a multi-day activity camp March 17 – 21 where kids will have the opportunity to try a variety of on-snow activities including cross-country skiing, biathlon, snowshoeing, ski jumping, ski play and tobogganing.

The program — offered for kids seven to 13 years old — will start at 9:30 a.m. each day and end at 3:30 p.m. The cost is $30, including gear rentals and coaching.

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