Panorama Mountain Village slopes set up for success

RACE READY  The B.C. Alpine Team is taking advantage of Panoramas stellar pre-season conditions to get a head start on race training. Photo by Dan Walton
RACE READY The B.C. Alpine Team is taking advantage of Panoramas stellar pre-season conditions to get a head start on race training. Photo by Dan Walton

As the staff at Panorama Mountain Village keep busy blasting the terrain with snow, some of the worlds best skiers are training on the mountain and giving the runs their groove before opening day.

The resort has upgraded its snowmaking system this year for its best production ever, and favourable winter conditions are amplifying those results.

Since last year, new snow blasting guns and an improved recipe have been implemented into the production. Both new assets will improve the speed, versatility, and quality of manmade snow.

These guns will go everywhere, said Scott Henderson, media representative for Panorama. And with a new organic compound mixed into the snowmaking sauce, the fog virtually disappears, he said.

Even though its still only the pre-season for Panorama, the higher quality snow is already gaining appreciation.

This is definitely the best Ive seen the snow right off the bat, said 19-year-old Dominic Unterberger, the senior-most member of the BC Alpine Team, whos currently training at Panorama for his sixth year.

Sharing the slopes with the BC Alpine Ski Team at Panorama is the Austrian Power Ski mens team, which harbour Matthais Mayer, who won gold at the 2014 Winter Olympics downhill event in Sochi, Russia.

Were going after the race business harder than we ever have, Mr. Henderson said. These programs strengthen us as a Canadian alpine training centre.

Another professional skier honing her skills at Panorama Stephanie Gartner, the senior-most female on the BC Ski Team said that while performance is evaluated individually, training as a team pushes each athlete further.

Its an individual sport and you always have to think about yourself first, but its beneficial to surround yourself with people who are at the same level of competition, she said. There are no outstanders on our team; we all fit in really well together.

The sentiment is echoed on the mens side of the team.

If youre having a bad day they can pick you up, Mr. Unterberger said. And if youre having a great day, you can help elevate their days. You build on each others stoke.

The BC Alpine team will return to Panorama next month to compete in Nor-Am (North America Cup) events.

For us to have home snow advantage before the Nor-Ams is a major bonus, said Gordie Bowles, athletic director for the BC Alpine Club.

In addition to the high quality snow, Panorama has become an even greater hill for the provincial ski team to practice. Mr. Bowles mentioned that a new training centre at Panorama will allow club members to train in the valley any time.

Its going to be a huge boost for ski racing in B.C. All FIS skiers in the province will have the opportunity to train with Helmut (Spiegl, local head coach) and his crew at the BC Alpine regional training centre, said Mr. Bowles. Helmuts a great world-class coach, and he knows Panorama really well.

And by opening a training facility at Panorama, the BC Alpine Club is able to utilize some of the provinces best snow, he added.

Adding to his coachs praise, Mr. Unterberger said Panorama consistently provides the team with advantageous weather and quality training.

Opening day at Panorama is on Friday, December 12th. The Nor-Am Cup will begin its local competitions the following day, from Saturday, December 13th until Saturday, December 20th.

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