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The Drumheller Mail - - FRONT PAGE - Sub­mit­ted The Drumheller Mail

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.

sub­mit­ted

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.

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