The mountains of Silver Star have might have fantastic skiing, but the real magic is in their ability to inspire a lifelong passion for skiing and snowboarding. Over the decades, non-profit groups like the Vernon Ski Club and the Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Club have helped up-and-coming athletes reach their full potential—some moving on to compete on the world stage at events like X Games, and the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games.
Vernon Ski Club
Established in 1935, the Vernon Ski Club (VSC) has seen generations of families move through its ranks. The club offers a range of different programs for all ages and abilities. It’s not all about ski racing, either, it’s building foundational techniques required to ski the whole mountain confidently.
“Confidence, self discipline and pride grow through the camaraderie and family-oriented skiing activities that the club is known for,” says Lauren Carr, President of the VSC.
Taking part in friendly competition is great for development and many graduates of the VSC have gone on to National and Provincial Ski teams, such as Tylee Carr who cracked the Top 15 at Canadian Nationals as a first year U16 last season. She was one of four VSC athletes to compete at the prestiged Mt Tremblant last winter, alongside fellow racers Coen Gill, Camryn Steele and Jasmine Coubrough.
Others have used the skills developed in the VSC membership to become coaches, instructors, or join the ski industry in other ways.
“We are very fortunate to have some of our alumni now returning to the club as coaches and parent volunteers,” says Lauren. “They are the backbone to our club and they make Silver Star a fun, safe and inspiring place to learn and implement ski racing skills.”
Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Club
The Silver Star Freestyle Club, run by a group of dedicated volunteers, is the largest club of its kind in British Columbia. Their goal is to promote freestyle skiing and snowboarding in a safe and progressive environment, using a range of facilities including the world-class terrain parks at SilverStar Mountain Resort, trampoline sessions, and dry-land programs. These options are offered to all athletes, no matter the experience level.
“Being part of the freestyle program helped me develop my love for skiing,” says Tate Garrod, who was part of the Freestyle Team for four years and has big ambitions of getting to the Olympics. “Having access to the facilities at Silver Star really helped me develop as a skier all round.”
In between training and competitions, Tate now helps with the new recruits to the Freestyle Club. “It’s a culture; people go through the program and then become coaches to give back to the next generation. The community aspect is really strong,” says Tate. Fellow coaches include Noah Morrison, X Games competitor who also started out as a member of the Freestyle Club.
Clubs for the Whole Family
Clubs like the VSC and SS Freestyle exist because of volunteers with a passion for the sport and they rely heavily on community contribution and participation.
“This isn’t your typical after-school activity. We ask families to be involved as much as possible,” says Crispin Lipscomb, Olympic athlete, coach, and manager of Treeline Park (a private terrain park utilised by the Freestyle Club). Parents of both clubs are encouraged to lend a hand wherever they can, whether assisting with race timings or laying out the airbag; every member of the family can be part of the action.
I don’t know where we would be without the community support,” says Wade Garrod, Freestyle Club Program Director.
The success of these clubs and their ability to connect young athletes with incredible opportunities, is a credit to the passion and dedication of the Silver Star community. Whether you’re a long-term resident or a guest visiting for the first time, you too can experience this passion for yourself. All you have to do is head to the slopes of SilverStar Mountain Resort and the mountains will do the rest.
Photo credits: Silver Star Freestyle Ski and Snowboard Club, Vernon Ski Club, Barry Goodsell