His ski season started out with injury, but with hard work and determination he turned out results that surprised even him.
“I thought it would be my worst season ever,” said Nelson’s Trace Cooke. “It turned out to be my best, I’m really proud of myself.”
Cooke, a member of the Whitewater Freeski Team, was looking forward to a strong season of competition when a knee injury put his campaign in question.
“It was my second day skiing when I took a tumble… I was super crushed and I thought my season was over,” said the 16-year-old L.V. Rogers student.
In his crash, Cooke managed to tear his MCL in one of his knees, but was determined to recover.
After four weeks of training, Cooke was able to attend the Red Mountain freeski competition in which he placed seventh and from there he says he just “kept elevating.”
By the time Cooke attended the Whitewater freeski competition he says was finally back to 100 per cent and it showed in his skiing.
“The Whitewater competition was a lot of fun,” said Cooke, who placed first ahead of the next competitor by 13 points.
“It was really cool to have all my friends watching my run.”
Cooke said the highlight of his season, however, was winning the Lake Louise competition for the second year in a row.
“Last year I was the oldest in my age group when I won, this year I was the youngest in the age group,” he said.
After the Lake Louise competition, Cooke was ranked third in the International Freeskiers Association for his 15-18 age group.
“When I looked on the website at the standings I was stoked right away,” he said.
Cooke said his coaches Peter Velisek and Dano Slater helped a lot with his skiing.
Cooke said his motivation for this season was just his love of skiing.
“My dad pushed me to ski but not in a bad way, kind of like a fun push… I’ve really enjoyed it ever since,” said Cooke.
For next season Cooke said he plans to sign up for more competitions especially in the US.
“I didn’t sign up for some of the US competitions because of my knee, but that was a mistake,” he said.
Cooke also said he would like to help out with coaching some of the very young freeskiers while trying to bring his own score even higher next season.