Local skier finishes season with top Canadian ranking.
The 2017 Ski Season had an epic end for local skier, Katie Hanik, 13, placing eighth in North American champions and ranked number one in Canada.
Katie of the HooDoo Hoppers received a late invite to the 2017 North American Junior Championships (NorAms) that were held at Kirkwood Mountain Resort in California from April 5 to April 9.
Katie would not have had the opportunity to attend this event without the support of the community, Katie was required to carry an avalanche beacon at all times while competing at Kirkwood and with the late invite to attend she had no time to secure the required equipment.
Mike Bell of Western GM and Steve O’Dwyer of Westergard Motors lent her their personal avalanche gear allowing her and her father, David Hanik to attend this prestigious event.
The caliber of talent that attended this event was remarkable and Katie was honoured to have received the invitation to compete. The NorAms were plagued with weather-related issues which resulted in the competitions being postponed for three days and at one point Katie did not think she was even going to have the opportunity to compete.
The International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association (IFSA) made the call to run the competition on Sunday, April 9 as a one run competition. It was run as a Dual Competition format with the venue being split in half and the 12-14 and 15-18 athletes running parallel down the venue at the same time, next to each other. The IFSA doubled the judging staff and deployed two full judging teams to judge each age group in parallel, this was to ensure that all competitors got the opportunity to compete as there were over 170 competitors to judge in one day. This was a unique situation for all of the athletes and this was a first for any Junior Freeriding event.
Another first for all the athletes was skiing the venue called The Cirque. The Cirque is a steep, open face that has never before been used in a junior competition. Formerly a stop on the Freeskiing World Tour’s adult circuit, this terrain is permanently closed to the public and offers an incredible variety of options for the athletes, it is considered ideal for freeriding but few get the chance to experience it.
The athletes were required to hike in for their inspection runs as it is not accessible when the chair lift is not open. Katie chose to run a very technical line, hitting some extraordinary drops and features. She was rewarded for her performance, tied 8th overall, however, Katie was recognized as the top placed Canadian in her age group at the NorAm competition.
Katie finished the 2017 ski season with the First Place position for her age category in the International Freeskiers & Snowboarders Association (IFSA) Canadian rankings. Katie is also proud to hold the 16th place position in the North American Rankings with the IFSA.
Katie missed having her Hoodoo Hopper family and coaches at the finish corral at the end of her run but she is anticipating that more of her Hoodoo Hopper teammates will get to experience this level of competition in the upcoming years.
Katie and the Hoodoo Hoppers train at Lake Louise led and mentored by head coach Vince Low and assisted by Cam Bertsch and David Hanik.
Katie Hanik, 13, competed at the 2017 North American Junior Championships (NorAms) in Kirkwood, California and tied for eighth place and finished the season with a top Canadian ranking.