North America’s Biggest Junior Ski Race Forced to Improvise
JASPER, ALBERTA, CANADA — 550 junior ski racers got more than they bargained for when they descended on the slopes of Jasper’s Marmot Basin on March 2 to participate in the Jasper Junior Olympics, the biggest ski race of its kind in North America. Ski races are typically held on hard-packed, groomed runs but Mother Nature had different plans for the racers, race organizers and the throngs of parents and siblings who came to watch the youngsters compete. 70 cm (27 inches) of fresh snow fell at Marmot Basin over a three day period with 37 cm (15 inches) falling overnight on March 2. “This is the biggest snow storm Marmot Basin has had in over two decades”, reports Brian Rode, Marmot’s VP of Marketing. “In 1989 we had a storm that dumped a little over 100cm in three days but since then we haven’t seen anything like this”, he added.
After having to repack the race slopes on Saturday morning after 33 cm of snow fell the night before, the racers managed to get in one full race run. The next morning, racers arrived only to find that another 37 cm of new snow had again buried the slopes. “These are not ideal racing conditions but they sure are ideal skiing conditions”, said Colin Borrow, Marmot’s Snow Sports School Director. “There was no complaining from racers, coaches, parents…anyone! Everybody was having the time of their lives skiing thigh deep snow and, for most of these kids, it was up to their waists or armpits”, added Borrow. “This is something these kids will really remember and benefit from. They get to race a bit and for most, this will be the deepest powder snow they have ever skied”, said Borrow.
Marmot Basin will stay open until May 5th and, with all this new snow it is guaranteed that conditions will remain ideal right through to closing day.
ABOUT MARMOT BASIN — Marmot Basin is located in Jasper, National Park, Alberta Canada and is the only of the four Canadian national park ski areas to have completed its winter Vision Statement and Site Guidelines as required by Parks Canada. Marmot Basin has 1675 acres of skiable terrain, 86 runs and seven ski lifts including three high speed quad chairs including the Canadian Rockies Express, the longest high speed quad chair in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Marmot Basin shareholders have invested over $28 million in ski area improvements since 2003 and are committed to long term sustainable growth for the ski area. Marmot Basin continues to work on further developments and improvements as set out in Marmot Basin’s long range plans.