BROOKVALE, P.E.I. – There may have been some future Olympians on the slopes of Brookvale over the weekend.
Some poor weather didn’t stop a record number of five to 11-year-old Maritime skiers from competing in the Alpine Atlantic Cup Series stop at the Island’s provincial ski park.
Janet Midgley, assistant coach for P.E.I.’s junior development team, said the event keeps growing with more than 190 entries this year.
“It’s a huge sport and, ironically, on P.E.I. with such a little hill there are a lot of great skiers that come out of here,” said Midgley. “It’s fun watching them all have fun and getting better.”
Despite plenty of competition from New Brunswick and Nova Scotia skiers, nine-year-old Joëlle Bader won two silver medals for the P.E.I. Ski Club in the under-10 division.
“There’s so much ice out there,” said Bader, who has also medalled in previous competitions at Nova Scotia’s Ski Martock. “(The snow) is very sticky but it’s also very icy once you push the snow off.”
Bader, who has been skiing since she was about four years old, said she couldn’t remember why she was initially drawn to the sport.
“My dad was snowboarding so I think he decided to put me on skis,” said Joelle, noting it’s a passion shared by her whole family.
Her seven-year-old brother Henri was also participating in weekend’s competition.
“It’s really fun,” said Henri after finishing his runs for Saturday.
The two have an 11-year-old sister Juliette, who was unable to ski in the competition due to an injury. They also have a four-year-old brother Laurent who was on the slopes this weekend taking ski lessons.
“It’s fun to see them out just playing and having fun — they love it,” said mother Heather Morrison.
The event was hosted by the P.E.I. Alpine Ski Team and included slalom courses on Saturday.
Sunday saw a combination of slalom and giant slalom, known as kinder kombi, which is one of the most popular alpine races for the age division.
Jordan Mol, the event’s chief of race, said the weekend was made a little more difficult with the weather, but the races went off well.
He said the races were finished later than organizers anticipated, mainly because of the large number of entries.
“It went really nicely. We’re getting more and more athletes participating in these events,” said Mol. “The numbers have been continually growing every year, it goes to show the sport is growing and people enjoy it.”