The Golden Kicking Horse Alpine Team is set for what promises to be another busy year on the slopes.
With 127 kids registered, GKHAT continues to grow from year to year, but it’s not just the size of the program that’s grown, it’s the scope as well.
“One of the things we’ve been trying over the last four years is trying some different things,” said GKHAT President Mark Baxendale. “If you do what you’ve always done you always get what you’ve always got.”
Among the areas of growth for the club is the addition of an under-16 team, a year after GKHAT debuted an under-14 team.
Some of the club’s older athletes won’t just be competing. Several 13-15 year-old kids are enrolled in a junior coaching program. Some of them also attended the National Coaching Certificate program that took place at the College of the Rockies in late September.
“I’m really excited about that, I think it’s a natural progression for some kids who don’t want to race and see coaching as a parallel universe to the gate training that they have,” Baxendale said.
Another new addition to the team this year is a program for athletes with special needs through the Special Olympics. The team sent four coaches to Vernon to participate in a Special Olympics program in order to help them get the program off the ground.
“There are three or four kids from Golden that are going to be involved with that program,” Baxendale said.
While GKHAT’s younger skiers will continue to train on ‘Wolverine’, near the Catamount chair at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, older skiers will have the opportunity to train on ‘Kicking Horse’ a trail that runs from the top of Pioneer chair.
“Because we’ve got older kids in the program we require a different course with a different gradient and different challenges,” Baxendale said. “We’ll have two sets of gates up there every weekend for training runs.”
“It’s great that the (resort) helped…we’ve got good communications with them, they know what we want, they understand where we’re going…It’s working really well together.”
The club’s full race schedule hasn’t been completed yet, including a date for GKHAT’s home race at Kicking Horse, but races will get started early in the new year.
It’s not too late to register your kids for this season. Registration can be done online at gkhat.ca, although it is asked that parents speak to Kisa Glasier at 250-344-7334 before registering their child.