Alec Henderson has done something no other Western Canadian has done since 2015.
The Penticton skier earned a spot on the nation’s “NextGen” slopestyle team ahead of the 2022-2023 season, a field dominated in recent years by athletes from Ontario and Quebec.
Born and raised in Penticton, Henderson is currently in Stubai, Austria preparing for a Freestyle Ski World Cup event that runs from Nov. 16 to 19.
“The timing of this really worked out in my favour,” Henderson told the Western News. “The national team was looking for new athletes and it all came together pretty quickly.”
Henderson is one of four Canadians at the November event, after the national team made its selections at a recent “NextGen” invitational in Whistler.
Coached by Kenni Kuroda from the Apex Mountain Resort, the 19-year-old says Penticton will be on his mind when he hits the Austrian hills later next week.
“I love our community,” he said.
Henderson’s trip to Austria, though, isn’t the first time he’ll represent Canada on the world stage.
On Oct. 21, the Penticton athlete was in Chur, Switzerland to compete in the Big Air category. Ottawa’s Noah Porter Maclennan finished the event in second place.
Henderson first started participating in the sport when he was nine, after his friends in Penticton convinced him to sign up for the local ski club.
Since then, he’s fallen in love with the sport and hopes his experience overseas will inspire other Pentictonites to get involved with skiing.
“I really want to try and get as many people as I can on skis because I think it’s the best,” Henderson said.