Most locals had no idea what to expect when it was announced that the Subaru Freeskiing World Tour would be coming to Revelstoke from January 6th-10th 2010. With Revelstoke Mountain Resort still in it’s infancy, many long time residents of the small and unassuming town are totally unaware of the crazy world of big mountain skiing, and that there is more to the ski industry than selling passes and powder in the forecast to keep the bull wheels turning.
Having connected with some of the long time locals since I moved here a year and a half ago and being involved in the ski industry outside of Revelstoke in a number of ways I was able to witness the paradox that results when a quiet mountain town is to host a high profile, extreme skiing event. Many people had no idea what freeskiing competitions are all about. Being a long time hub for logging, rail, mining and forestry, and more recently skiing, snowboarding, climbing, mountaineering, guiding, the avalanche industry there are classic divisions within the town– while many of us live for the days that it snows 50 cms others grumble about all the snow shoveling that needs to be done in the winter.
In the weeks prior to the event I found myself explaining to many people why this big ski competition buzz had taken over. Those who love skiing as much as I do but were unfamiliar with the format of big mountain competitions were curious and excited to see what kind of show the FWT would bring, while some others seemed slightly nervous about the effect it might have and wondered if the notorious big mountain skiers would wreck havoc on our humble town.
When the storm of skiers, media, sponsors and spectators rolled in I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. Being a local competitor I felt responsible to bridge the gap and encouraged people in town to check out the event in hopes that the community of that I live in would embrace the broader big mountain ski community that I am a part of. Over the course of the event I made sure to ask everyone that was participating what they thought of Revy. I talked to as many people as I could and received an endless stream of positive feedback about the vibe of the town, how nice and welcoming everyone was and how amazing the skiing is here. As I went about my daily life in town I found myself being told incredulously how awesome the comp was to watch, or how they were excited that they met one skier or another skier on the bus or at the swimming pool or at the coffee shop and how nice or fun they were to talk to. I was continuously congratulated by non-skiers for my second place result in the qualifier or being featured in the paper as one of the local competitors, wished good luck and asked how locals could get involved with the event next year.
It seemed to me that the two worlds meshed amazingly and it made me proud to be a part of both of them… the high caliber of the skiing in Revlestoke is why I came here but the history, people and sense of community are what makes it home. As time goes on and I continue to pursue my skiing objectives whether they are competition, peaks or powder I hope that I continue to remember to stop to appreciate the authenticity of the people and the place that I live.
Here are a few articles that written by Alex Cooper of the Revelstoke Times Review about the comp:
Izzy Lynch : “I’m usually thinking about skiing”
Freeskiers: Either crazy or just really confident?