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Petitioners urge resort chain to add man-made jumps to B.C. ski hills

Lobby says Resorts of the Canadian Rockies terrain park policy is stifling athletic development
A petition has been started to reintroduce man-made jumps to RCR’s terrain parks. Paul Rodgers file.

A ban on man-made jumps at terrain parks in a prominent chain of Canadian ski resorts is choking athletic development and should be reversed according to thousands.

A petition has been started to reintroduce man-made jumps to terrain parks at ski hills owned and operated by Resorts of the Canadian Rockies (RCR), a chain that includes B.C. properties in Golden, Fernie and Kimberley.

The petition was started by Jeff Patterson, who has worked for nearly 30 years around the world in terrain park programs, including working for RCR in a variety of capacities. It currently has 2,708 signatures.

A main focus of the petition is the evolution of professional skiing and snowboarding. Patterson says in the petition that many skiers and snowboarders who trained at RCR resort in the ’90s and early 2000s, went on to find great success as winter sport athletes.

“16 years later, it has become obvious that this move by RCR has had a significant impact on our future Olympians’ ability to become the ‘best,’” Patterson said. “Looking at the number of ‘professional’ snowboard and ski athletes that grew up in these areas comparing then to now — and its quite obvious the impact it truly has had.”

The decision that all man-made jumps would be eliminated from RCR terrain parks was first announced in 2007. In an interview with Pique News Magazine in 2007, Matt Mosteller, then senior director of business development, now senior vice president of RCR, said the following:

“We have found that one of the main issues that increase the likelihood of serious injury on our mountains is big air. When we are making decisions about safety at our resorts, the big jumps in the terrain parks always come into the equation. We decided to make a change.”

Patterson, who said through his work he’s “witnessed first-hand how man-made jumps can enhance our terrain parks,” cites statistics from the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA), saying that terrain park injuries make up less than 10 per cent of all ski resort injuries.

“This suggests that with proper regulation and maintenance, man-made jumps can be safely integrated into our terrain parks,” Patterson said in his petition.

Black Press Media reached out to the Kimberley Alpine Resort for their comment on the petition.

“We take our role as a community recreation provider very seriously as we know the benefits for getting outside, sliding on snow is so awesome for physical health and mental well-being,” said Christine Schultheis, general manager at KAR. “We try to offer as many options and ways to get people sliding on snow from local school programs, Telus Winter Sports School programs, and our support for Kimberley Alpine Team, East Kootenay Adaptive Snowsports and many more.

“We are proud of the vital role that Kimberley Alpine Resort plays in the tourism / recreation economy of Kimberley. We are always looking at ways to enhance the skiing, snowboarding and frankly recreational experience for the community.”

READ MORE: Kimberley Alpine Resort’s new manager is Christine Schultheis

Schultheis highlighted the busy event schedule the resort has lined up for the coming year, and their focus on providing the best possible experience for skiers and snowboarders at the resort. She mentioned KAR being one of the few resorts to host the Jr Free Ski event, and part of the first series of Jeep Junior Freeride events that tour multiple ski resorts.

She also highlighted KAR’s support of the Kimberley Alpine Team and the Dreadnaught Ski Racing team, which this year will bring in hundreds of athletes to Kimberley at numerous major events including the World Masters Alpine Championships.

“These events are not only great for our local athletes to be able to participate but also a massive economic boost for the community,” Schultheis said.

Patterson had a meeting with Schultheis on Saturday, Jan. 6 to discuss this subject.

“We take all community input and or ideas seriously and we are always game to take on projects that create community value, company value and or provide a good benefit for a local non-profit,” Schultheis said. “Whatever we are doing has to be done safely and professionally.”

Schultheis added that she looks forward to reviewing Patterson’s proposal with her team at RCR.

READ ALSO: Ski run safety largely self-regulated in B.C.

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About the Author: Paul Rodgers

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