This was supposed to be a formative, learning year for Nelson’s Haley Cooke. After solidly finishing in second place on the International Freeski Ski Association (IFSA) last season as a 12- to 14-year-old junior, the step up into the senior women’s age category was going to be an eye-opener.
“The older girls all ski stronger, faster and take more risks. I told my sponsor, ROAM, my goal was to try to finish Top 10 in each national event so I could qualify to ski in the North American Championships in April,” said Cooke.
Before the IFSA Series was a month old, she was already turning heads with her direct, fast fall-line skiing accented by the amount of energy jumps she packed into each run.
Consecutive podium finishes in three Canadian national events landed Cooke as top Canadian and in third place overall on the IFSA standings.
“I always knew I could ski at a high level and, once I won a competition, my confidence and determination started peaking even more,” she said.
It certainly helps that she gets a lot of instruction and encouragement from her brother, Trace, a former 15-18 IFSA champ himself. Haley also credits the coaching provided by the Whitewater Freeride team.
“It’s no secret on the circuit, everyone wants to hang with the WH2O team and coaches… we know line, where the best airs are and how to have the most fun — even when competing at this high level. We love the frozen water!”
Haley and more than a dozen other WH2O Freeride team members are off to Snowbird (from April 9 to 13) to compete in the North American finals in Utah.