Invermere resident Amelia Smart, 18, made the Canadian National Development Team last June and has competed in two European races so far this season. Photo submitted

Invermere resident Amelia Smart, 18, made the Canadian National Development Team last June and has competed in two European races so far this season. Photo submitted

By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

An 18-year-old Invermere inhabitant joined the ranks of the Canadian National Development Team this past June.

Amelia Smart, who now focuses on the technical slalom and giant slalom skiing events, began skiing at the mere age of four. In 2015, Ms. Smart began competing nationally and internationally.

I started a ski racing program when I was 10, but it wasnt very competitive until U14, which is ages 13 and 14, she explained by email.

The allure of competing as a racer first appealed to Ms. Smart when she discovered the sense of community at the hill.

I love the community of racers and the feeling I get after getting to the bottom of the hill and knowing I had a good run, whether it be in a training run or a race run, she said.

Ms. Smart believes that joining the national development team roster has not altered her perspective on racing as a skier.

I wouldnt say it has changed my perspective on racing as I still have the same long term goals as I did in previous years, she replied, but it has definitely opened my eyes to all the other aspects that go into becoming a good ski racer, such as mental strength and nutrition.

This season, Ms. Smart competed in the North American Cup in Jackson Hole, Wyoming on November 24th and 25th; the Copper Mountain Nor-Ams in Colorado on December 2nd and 3rd; as well as the BC Nor-Ams at Panorama Mountain Resort between December 12th and 18th.

In addition, she participated at two competitions in Austria and another in Germany. When asked about her favourite challenge of the season, she replied: My favourite races were probably held at the Panorama Nor-Ams, as I got to race on my home hill and the conditions were perfect.

Ms. Smart is continually developing her skills using several different avenues.

I will continue to work with a physical trainer all throughout the season and off-season to improve my physical strength as well as training on the hill to improve my skiing technique, she said. Mainly, I will take the most out of every opportunity I get to become a better competitor.

The most important aspect about training in the Columbia Valley, she added, was the support from friends, family and peers.

I would not be where I am today without all the coaches I have had most influentially, my father (Steve Smart) and my mother (Janice Morgan), she concluded. The one thing that is difficult with this, along with many other sports, is the financial aspect so I would like to thank the Kinsmen Club for their recent support.