The Golden Kicking Horse Alpine Team is getting ready for a great new season, adding a new age category to their club, as well as a new clubhouse.
“Our membership should be up over last year,” said Pam Tetrault, program director. “We’re accepting four-year-olds for the first time this year, and I think that has increased our numbers. I have eight signed up already in that age category.”
The club is hoping for around 75 members this year, and there will be another registration night at Alexander Park Elementary on Thursday Nov. 3, from 7 to 9 p.m.
GKHAT not only focuses on the fundamentals, taught through the Nancy Greene program, but also on alpine ski racing, and they are also currently working on incorporating the ski cross style, or skier cross.
“We’re building on that side of the sport,” said Tetrault. “I think a lot of the older kids will be interested in that, and hopefully it will keep them in the program longer.”
The sport made its first appearance in the Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, and is continually gaining popularity.
The club has a lot of exciting things planned for the season, including a few weekends away at competitions.
There will also be an avalanche day, where the kids will be taught about avalanche safety, and the regular programs that run every Saturday and Sunday.
“We’re in a bit of a rebuilding stage right now, but our goal is to eventually have some very competitive skiers,” said Tetrault.
GKHAT runs from early December, to the end of March, which works out to roughly 14 weekends, weather depending.
“It’s amazing the progress you see in the kids over that period of time,” said Tetrault, who joined when her oldest son did. She is now entering her third season.
“We’re hoping to have nine or ten coaches this year, and try to keep the ratios as small as possible (coach to the number of kids), especially for the younger kids. We really try to make the programs tailor made to the kids and the parents.”
The new clubhouse going up this year is another exciting prospect for the club. In the past they have had to use the crowded day lodge, which makes it difficult to spend time together as a group.
“We’ve been hoping for a clubhouse for several years now,” said Pete Russell, president of GKHAT. “There have been some good fundraising ideas in the past couple of years, and we received a grant from the Columbia Basin Trust, which is what really got us up and running.”
The whole process is costing about $50,000 says Russell. And not only has the club received some significant donations from Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, but they were also given a prime location to put the clubhouse.
“I think it is going to make a huge difference,” said Russell. “It is really hard for groups to meet up in the daylodge, and you lose that sort of sense of community. I think that team atmosphere will grow and grow.”
Russell also hopes the new clubhouse will give parents a place to socialize with each other while their children are in programs, further strengthening the family dynamic within the club.
Anyone wishing to register, but cannot attend the registration night at APES on Nov. 2 from 7 to 9 p.m., may also do so online at www.gkhat.ca.