Paralympic gold medallist relishing early-season training at Whitehorse’s Mount Sima

Tyler Turner, a Paralympic gold medallist, was taking advantage of an early-season training opportunity at Mount Sima in Whitehorse. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

The Canadian Para Snowboard Team is among those taking advantage of an early-season training opportunity  at Mount Sima in Whitehorse.

“Whitehorse is such a cool location for us because it saves us a lot of money, not having to travel overseas to glaciers in Europe. We get to stay home, have all the things that we’re used to and everything,” said Tyler Turner, a Paralympic gold medallist.

“Sima’s been so good to us, allowing us to build some cool features — training stuff that’s really unique, that allows us to train at a high level really early in the season.”

Turner, right, with his coach Mark Fawcett at Mount Sima. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

From earlier this month until Dec. 10, the facility expected to welcome 300 athletes, along with roughly 60 coaches. They are part of teams from across Canada and the United States, sliding down one of the earliest runs in North America.

“Economically, it’s great. It’s good for us, it’s good for communities,” said Jen Spence, guest services manager and pre-season coordinator.

Early-season training at Mount Sima has grown dramatically.

Mark Fawcett, a coach with the Canadian Para Snowboard Team, said when it first started eight years ago, there was a para team of nine athletes and a ski team of 20. Today, the lodge is at capacity.

Jen Spence is a guest services manager and pre-season coordinator at Mount Sima. (Cheryl Kawaja/CBC)

“When most of the skiers through Canada are still green and you’re playing golf, we’re on snow here … for any snow sliding discipline, you’ll find them up here in November right now.”

Elite adaptive athletes will be back at Mount Sima in March when Whitehorse hosts the FIS Para Snowboard World Cup finals. It will be one of the biggest events Whitehorse has held since the 2007 Canada Winter Games.

“It’s going to be really cool,” Turner said. “My family’s never even seen me race because we’re in Europe all winter. So they get to come home to Canada and finish the World Cup season on Canadian soil. It’s going to be pretty cool.”

Related stories from around the North :

Canada : Arctic Winter Games 2023 open with a rockin’ outdoor party at –17 C, CBC News

Greenland : Biathlete from Greenland proud to represent Inuit at her first Olympics, CBC News

Russia : Blog: Russia, icebreakers and Arctic identity, Mia Bennett

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