BC Alpine reaches record numbers

If you build it, they will come.

The iconic line from Field of Dreams is a baseball reference but it could also hold true for BC Alpine and its 35 member clubs. Challenged with many obstacles over the past two seasons, including no racing due to provincial travel-related restrictions, the clubs have persevered.

Not only that, they’ve thrived. And today BC Alpine announced in a press release that it has reached its highest-ever membership registration, further validating all that hard work. Ski racing has begun in all corners of the province after a near two year absence.

The new record of registered members – athletes, coaches and officials – reached 6,451, topping its previous high of 6,250 set in pre-covid times in 2019. BC Alpine did not have any events between 2020 to 2021 due to Covid travel and other restrictions.

The feel-good stories and positive messages have been pouring in from across the province.

“From the volunteers to the coaches and especially the athletes – the positive energy was incredible,” said Christine Andison, of the Red Mountain Racers (Rossland) after hosting a Teck Open race series last weekend. “The skiers were so happy to be competing again and seeing friends they haven’t seen for almost two years, it was a very special weekend to say the least!”

The positive vibes didn’t end with just the young ski racers. “In all my years of volunteering I have never heard so many athletes saying thank you to the volunteers … everyone was very grateful to be together again on the course,” said Andison, who also serves as the Director of Planning and Development for Red Mountain.

Along with its 35 member clubs in four zones (Okanagan, North, Coast, Kootenays) the BC Alpine ski racing scene is not only alive, but flourishing. 

“It appears that ski racing is more popular than ever,” said Anders Hestdalen, the CEO of BC Alpine. “I’m very proud of our ski clubs and event organizers for hosting safe and smart races. We have worked closely with our volunteers to ensure that we have put all the systems in place to ensure that we keep everyone’s health and safety as the top priority.”

With ski races happening from U10 up to U21 and Masters at ski resorts large and small across BC, such as at Troll Ski Resort near Quesnel, the excitement level is high. The Lightning Creek Ski Club hosted a “Welcome Back to Racing” weekend for the North zone clubs including a two-run combined race, as well as a two-run night slalom .

“The weather cooperated, the volunteers were amazing and the kids were smiling,” said Michelle Klapatiuk, of the race organizing team at Troll. “We raced giant slalom under the sun and then managed to pull off our first-ever night slalom under the new lights.”

Meanwhile, at Whistler-Blackcomb, the first Coast zone U16 races took place under sunny skies “on a near-perfect, hard-packed Ptarmigan run” on the Dave Murray National Training Centre, where skiers from Grouse, Cypress, Seymour, Whistler, Sasquatch, and Mt. Washington attended. Whistler again hosted the Coast zone clubs again the next weekend for a series of U14 races which featured 120 young ski racers.

The Sun Peaks Alpine Club, meanwhile, hosted the season opening Teck races for U12, U14 and U16 skiers on the Nancy Greene International Race Centre last weekend.

GRAPHIC: Registrations by year

About BC Alpine Ski Association

VISION: To inspire skiers for life and develop world-class athletes. MISSION: To lead and govern the sport of Alpine Ski Racing in BC, to provide leadership and structure for our clubs to deliver high quality, sustainable and affordable programming and to communicate the competitive, recreational and lifestyle benefits of ski racing to the community.