Canada Snowboard is pleased to announce the construction of the country's first permanent Banked Slalom at Mount Sima, Yukon. Through a collaboration with Snowboard Yukon, Mount Sima and Canada Snowboard, 17 permanent banked slalom turns are currently under construction.
From what began as a long-term vision for the Canadian Technical Speed Coach, Mark Fawcett, the dream of an international level banked slalom course in Canada became realized when he got the nod of approval from Sam Oettli, the general manager of Mt. Sima this past spring.
With the goal to provide enhanced training opportunities and to grow snowboarding in Canada, Fawcett knew the creation would need to be built for the public to love. This meant getting the construction of the course right and to international standard, which had Fawcett on-site last fall with measurement tools to ensure the location, spacing and angles of the berms flow with the gradient of the slope.
“Our goal is to have a well built, consistent, efficient and early accessible course for training” - Sam Oettli, Manager of Mt. Sima Resort
The unique draw to Banked Slalom courses is that they can be ridden by novice riders to the most advanced, making it inviting for a wide range of abilities and varying disciplines within the sport. The design of a banked slalom course takes form in the way of surf culture, with berms mimicking the shape of waves and the flow of inertia you can feel between each bend.
“This style of terrain attracts riders from all the different sectors of the sport. From Freestyle and urban to freeriders, racers, and even recreationalists” - Mark Fawcett, Canadian Technical Speed Coach
With Bank Slalom an official discipline of the Paralympic Games and the Canadian Para Team fresh off a stellar Olympic (2021/22) season with, 2 Paralympic Medals, 10 World Championship podiums, 5 World Cup podiums and 2 Crystal globes, having an international grade banked slalom course in Canada, means more time on snow and training opportunities on the standardized courses they compete on.
“A permanent track at this caliber will be a huge asset for Canadian Para athletes looking to train in an environment they usually have very little access to outside of competition”. - Mark Fawcett
The dirt work being done is ingenious for resorts looking to develop long-term course solutions as it reduces a tremendous amount of on-going machine time, money and resources. The new course requires significantly less snow without the volumes needed for the build, driving snowmaking costs down and the number of snowcat hours and staff required to build and maintain one. All this to say, its shrinking reliance on “Old-Man-Winter” means more operational days throughout the year and open much sooner.
Building the banked slalom course does not come without its challenges, hats off to Steve Pitrie from Arena Snowparks for maneuvering a 20 ton machine in such tight quarters for the excavation work and for Sam Oettli for securing the machinery needed amongst the global supply shortages, mentions Fawcett.
This project wouldn’t have been possible without Norm Curzon, Representative of Snowboard Yukon who is responsible for funding this project, expressing that the new course will open the door to new terrain for his riders and will be instrumental in their development.
Our long term goal is to have this become the location of future race events and be an amazing addition to our Mt. Sima. With the project slated to be completed this fall and for the course to be operational this 2022/23 winter season, the excitement is in the air.
“As we are building it we can already see how these 17 turns are going to shape the future.” - Sam Oettli