HooDoo Hoppers still hopping
The HooDoo Hoppers is a group of 8 young girls from Drumheller. The original group started years ago at the Badlands Ski Hill which was closed in 2010. The group now trains for free style skiing at Lake Louise whichhas been their home base for training since last December. They have been going there every couple of weeks. Last weekend, February 6 & 7, the Jeep Junior Freeski 2016 Series competition was held at Kicking Horse Mountain Resort, Golden. BC.
Participating were Amanda Hanik, Kiana Salvatore, Kiara Bertsch, Tavia Bertsch, Grace Brost, Ava Lund and Brooke Hanik.
Paul Salvatore, father of one of the competitors, explained free skiing, “It is a discipline where they go down on a defined course, stay within boundaries, going down a section of the mountain. They don’t have to go through gates, but they do have to use various features such as jumps or some form of little trick or flourish they bring as they go down the hill. At their age, the types of feature things that they are doing are not extreme. The older competitors are jumping off 20’ cliffs and doing 360’s.”
Salvatore continued, Kicking Horse course “The was very steep and challenging and the girls did very well. The girls did fantastic and this is a tribute to their coaches, Vince Low, Dave Hanik and Cam Bertsch.
Salvatore further expressed, “There have been no injuries and the girls are pretty resilient. They are troopers. You would be amazed at the level of challenge and difficulty, that they can tackle, it is quite remarkable.”
Coach Cam Bertsch said, “The girls all skied great in Saturday’s qualifying run al- though it was a little challenging with blustery winds, flat light and 25 cm of fresh snow. There were a few falls as these conditions were a new experience for the girls, the Hoppers haven’t had a lot of practice skiing in fresh powder.
None the less, Tavia Bertsch, Kiara Bertsch, Kiana Salvatore and Amanda Hanik, in the 7-11 age group moved on to ski in the final 10 on Sunday. The girls finished in 10th, 8th, 7th and 5th. and Amanda Hanik had the best showing with her 5th place. The team’s next competition will be in Fernie on February 18-22. This competition is for ages 12 -18, with Katie Hanik being the only girl who will be eligible to compete. The rest of the club will make the trek to Fernie to cheer Katie on as well as do some training on new terrain.
The event staff recognized Hoppers head coach Vince Low for the time he put into the club with lots of compliments on the kid’s skiing form and abilities.
HooDoo Hoppers at Kicking Horse Mountain, l-r Kiara Bertsch, Katie Hanik, head coach Vince Low,
Grace Brost, and Amanda Hanik in front.