Canadian slopestyle skiers get first look at Pyeongchang ahead of 2018
Pyeongchang, South Korea – Canadian slopestyle skiers are in Pyeongchang, South Korea, for a FIS World Cup that will be held as an Olympic test event at Bokwang Phoenix Park. The competition is scheduled to include qualifiers on Thursday, February 18. The top 10 men and six women will then advance to the finals on Saturday.
Defending Olympic champion Dara Howell (Huntsville, ON) and 2014 bronze medallist Kim Lamarre (Lac-Beauport, QC) are joined on the trip by Olympians Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (Quebec City, QC), Yuki Tsubota (Whistler, BC) and Kaya Turski (Montreal, QC), as well as Nikki Blackall (Barrie, ON), Anouk Purnelle-Faniel (Quebec City, QC), Alex Bellemare (Saint-Boniface, QC), Teal Harle (Campbell River, BC), and Evan McEachran (Oakville, ON).
Beaulieu-Marchand and Lamarre are not expected to compete due to injury.
“This is really a great opportunity for myself and the rest of the team to get acclimated with all that Korea has to offer. The purpose of this trip is to simulate what the Olympic Games will be like,” said Howell. “It’s great that we get to come out here two years before for an Olympic test event to try out the course. I’m looking forward to also learning more about Korean culture and familiarizing myself with the venue. This trip definitely gives us an advantage in comparison to potentially coming here for the first time in 2018.”
Bokwang Phoenix Park is located in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province. The park was built in 1995, but additional construction started in March 2015 for the test events and the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. Bokwang Phoenix Park is about 211 km away from Incheon International Airport (ICN) and it takes around three hours by car.
The trip to Korea serves a dual purpose for the team as the goal is to also get acclimated with a new competition environment and a country where several of the athletes have never visited.
“I saw a couple of pictures of the course before leaving and it looks really nice. We will need to work on our tricks leading up to 2018 because I believe that they will be building big jumps with diversified rails,” said Bellemare. “It will be a refreshing to change the rails because the past events have been somewhat repetitive. I’ve never been to Korea before so this will be a brand new experience for me.”
The trip comes approximately a year after Canadian mogul skiers had their own familiarization trip to South Korea.
“After a great trip last year to familiarize ourselves with the travel, landscape and culture, this year we get to focus on learning about the slopestyle venue and get a good feel for the flow of the course,” said David Mirota, High Performance Director. “For our team, this event marks the mid-quadrennial point leading into 2018. We can start looking at the technical and tactical aspects of our preparation.”
A full schedule can be accessed here.