While spirits are damp on Mount Washington these days, the Oak Bay High ski and snowboard team is happy they saw some racing this season.
“We were die hard so we skied with the brown snow,” said coach, parent and teacher Tina Horwood. “We had zero races last year … there wasn’t enough snow to hold the poles up. They had races this year and they did really well.”
While things are looking glum on the hills this month, the team previoiusly saw success in two races and a handful of training days up at Mount Washington.
“It was really nerve wracking, there was a girl there with a sponsorship jacket on,” said Grade 12 skier Nicola Horwood.
“It was awesome to experience the race. … That day I beat all the boys and she (the sponsored skier) was only a couple seconds ahead. That was exciting.”
The Oak Bay Ski and Snowboard Team, despite lack of prior racing experience, was successful in its first race day Jan. 19 and Nicola came second overall on the Island.
The second competition on Jan. 26 saw Josh Waterlander finish first in boys’ snowboarding category while the entire boys snowboard team finished first overall.
“It’s a good day when you find out you win,” said the 16-year-old. “I like it, it’s a new experience. It’s fun.”
While they only managed a couple of competition days, there was enough snow to sneak in some lessons, particularly on racing-specific things like gates.
“The gates are definitely different,” said Waterlander.
Plus the long rides up to Mount Washington provide bonding experiences for the team that features 13 members representing every grade and myriad other school clubs.
“You get to know different people from different parts of the school,” Nicola said.
“We get to know each other more and have friends in other grades which is cool,” agreed Wagerlander.
Whether they see more white stuff or not this season, first place finishes and personal achievements mark a successful second season.
“One of the boys, an international student from Mexico, had never seen snow before,” Nicola said. “Even people who are completely new to the sport have made times to contribute to winning teams.”