Page 1 of 2 1 2 LastLast
Results 1 to 25 of 27
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,792

    Starting a freeride club a your local hill, any advice?

    Some background first,

    Hudson Bay Mountain


    Hudson Bay Mountain is a small, local ski hill located in Smithers B.C. Stats and details can be found here;
    https://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Ski-Smithers
    https://www.onthesnow.ca/british-col...skireport.html

    What the stats don’t tell you

    -Hudson Bay Mountain struggles in all possible ways. It is a bare bones operation that stays solvent due to sound financial management.
    -Overall vibe at the hill is frankly depressing. Other than powder days, the slopes, lounge and cafeteria are hauntingly empty.
    - There is a Ski and Snowboard club. Younger kids ski around and receive instruction from their group leaders but once you hit pre-teen and teen years it’s seemingly all gates all the time. They do good things but gates and racing are not for everyone. Not dissing them at all, I hope both my daugthers join their ranks next year soon so as to establish a sound technical base
    -I have ski bummed at Whitewater and Fernie, have skied at most major resorts in BC and Alberta, as well as the bigger resorts in Quebec and Vermont and never in my life have I skied a hill that is so entirely devoid of chargers or anyone whom I would call a strong skier. In short, there is no basically no charging culture at the hill at all. No roving gangs of young punks taking hits. No twenty something members of the EI ski team. Nothing.

    Smithers Info

    -Small town, 6000 people serving a catchment area of about 12000 people.
    -Tons of activities for kids. So many in fact that there is competition between clubs and groups.
    -Smithers is a super active place in an outdoor sense and getting more and more so each year.
    -Smithers is changing fast. We are seemingly transitioning from small, resource based, northern town to a burgeoning mountain town in a hurry. Lots of young people moving up here to settle and live a leisure filled lifestyle.

    Our backcountry ski scene is booming

    More on that here;

    http://www.bbss.ca

    -We have more enthusiastic skiers than anytime in my 14 years here. In fact, I used to know absolutely everyone in the room at the 2 or 3 ski functions I go to a year, and over the last few years I am shocked by how few people I know. Overall, the ski vibe in Smithers pretty darn healthy I would say but shockingly little of that positive energy is directed at the hill.

    So why do I think this place needs a freeride club?[/B]

    I am a teacher in town, I run an Outdoor Ed. Program at my school, I feel I am pretty connected to the whole ski scene around these parts etc. etc. Based on these things, I could rifle off 20 reasons why I think a freeride team is needed but the most salient are;
    -I have kids in my class who are members of the Ski Club who are frankly miserable. Years and years of grade 7 kids telling me about how they wish they could just free ski instead of bash gates.
    -The parents of said kids keep asking me if this is something I would like to take on.

    A couple more random things


    -Starting a freeride club is not a new idea around here. I know it has been bandied about before and I know who was involved in those efforts. I plan on talking to them and seeing what is up from there point of view.
    -I have no certifications as a freestyle coach or anything else of that nature. I would rather start the thing and be a tail gunner or whatever. Real instruction would require someone else to come on board.
    -I know the manager of the ski hill and have some positive relationships with him and some local stores and various other stakeholders in the local ski scene etc.

    So what I am about wondering is…

    -Insurance, membership in a governing body, certification requirements for coaches and leaders, how do freeride clubs structure their on-hill days, going to comps, organizing comps, etc. etc and 1 thousand other things that are not even on my radar.

    So basically, how does one go about starting a freeride club at their local hill?
    Last edited by Angle Parking; 02-15-2020 at 10:58 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,792
    Sorry about the epic pre-amble but I think the context is relevant to this potential project.

    My own motivations are possibly the one area that I have not touched upon.

    - I am a total ski junkie so involving myself in a ski related piece of volunteerism is up my alley. Given my occupation, I find whatever well I have to draw upon with regard to helping others out is completely empty. A ski themed piece of community service is something i think I could handle however.

    -I would love for my own kids to have a ski programming option that does not involve racing.

    -I feel as though I want to do something for our ski hill. Smithereens largely take the hill for granted and if we don't do something about changing the culture and vibe of the hill I fear we will lose it one day. I am not the only person who wants to do something about our hill. My buddy for example started a banked slalom event last year. I am even strapping on a snowboard for the first time in 20 years for it.

    https://www.facebook.com/events/huds...4580736437447/

    - The disenfranchised and vulnerable youth of our area are beyond repelled by the whole uniform and structured culture of pretty much all the activities around here. Every activity is basically a festival of self selection. I want the punks to have a place too.

    - A bunch of other motivators as well but you get my drift.
    Last edited by Angle Parking; 02-15-2020 at 11:00 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    land of the free
    Posts
    9,386
    The only significant free ride team I have seen is at Kmart.
    Hudge features and kids are sendy af.
    Real ski corps employee coaches and team jackets.
    Might want to ask them. Hopefully they can be helpful.

    JH has a free ride team, but it always seems like a free skiing club, not a true park team.

    Good on ya for the idea. Hope it works.
    Maybe there is a junior instructor there that likes to ski park?
    Or a park rat over 18 that wants a free ticket and modest pay to be a weekend instructor?
    ďLife has become immeasurably better since I have been forced to stop taking it seriously.Ē
    Hunter S. Thompson

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    the big dirty
    Posts
    699
    I'm curious about the process as I would eventually like to start a youth development club wherever I end up in a couple of years, but for skimo racing.

    I would think some necessary steps would be:
    -Discuss with resort as they might want to know about people who aren't their staff that are coaching on their terrain. I would think that if there was an International/national governing body for the sport, in this case IFSA (is there a BC or Canada organization?), they might be okay with accepting this.
    -Register as a "Society". Might simplify fundraising, insurance, etc...
    -Obtain necessary coaching certifications.

    Seems like a bunch of work and red tape if you aren't sure if anyone will even be interested. Maybe run it incognito with a few trusted families for what's left of this season to see if there is interest, see if you can put in the time, etc...?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,792
    Perhaps I got my terms wrong. I have no interest in any sort of park team. The only park skiing I would envision happening is for the learning and practice of tricks. So free ski is what i mean maybe. Skiing the whole mountain. Big mountain, FWT stuff.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    On a fixed grip somewhere
    Posts
    1,980
    I don't have time to write a bunch of stuff out but would be more than willing to speak with you. My wife started the Freeski team at Magic Mountain while I worked there and I am now at a mountain (Mad River Glen) with one of the biggest and most successful freeski teams in the country. We are 100+ strong, growing each year and have kids skiing all over the mountain and the country. From a competitive standpoint we send kids to comps all over NA (even had 3 juniors at junior worlds in Switzerland this year) and they consistently do very, very well. I also helped start the Ski the East Freeride Tour many moons ago. I also have kids in the program. Finally spent time in Juneau, AK and have driven through your area and checked out the hill. You could have a very cool program between the ski area, nearby backcountry, Harkin Banks,etc. Let me know if you want to chat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    50 miles E of Paradise
    Posts
    8,956
    The Mt Bachelor Ski Education Foundation (MBSEF) has a strong free ride program along with gate bashing. They’ve been at it a while. May want to reach out to them for advice

    The freeride programs are mostly aimed at teaching strong riding all over the mountain. Including, but not limited to, the park. The kids I’ve been on chairs with seem pretty focused on having fun as much as getting better

    See http://www.mbsef.org/free-ride/free-ride-home
    Check Out Ullr's Mobile Avalanche Safety Tools for iOS and Android
    www.ullrlabs.com

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Hell Track
    Posts
    9,206
    Based on the local freeride program, the key component seems to involve taking 30 teenagers, putting them all on a crowded cat track at the same time, and having them try to spin every side hit and ride out switch. It also seems to help having an agro instructor that's not afraid to yell at the rest of the skiing public that's getting in the way of the aforementioned cat track side hit session.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,792
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebird View Post
    I don't have time to write a bunch of stuff out but would be more than willing to speak with you. My wife started the Freeski team at Magic Mountain while I worked there and I am now at a mountain (Mad River Glen) with one of the biggest and most successful freeski teams in the country. We are 100+ strong, growing each year and have kids skiing all over the mountain and the country. From a competitive standpoint we send kids to comps all over NA (even had 3 juniors at junior worlds in Switzerland this year) and they consistently do very, very well. I also helped start the Ski the East Freeride Tour many moons ago. I also have kids in the program. Finally spent time in Juneau, AK and have driven through your area and checked out the hill. You could have a very cool program between the ski area, nearby backcountry, Harkin Banks,etc. Let me know if you want to chat.
    I think my first steps will be to talk to the individuals who have previously tried move this idea forward and the GM of the hill. Should those conversations be encouraging, I will PM you. Thanks for you offer.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2009
    Posts
    12
    While this isn't exactly what you are asking, I've taken to building jumps just out side the resort boundaries and teaching kids some tricks and stuff. Not a team, but just for fun (and they are now asking about a team...). I do it so they can easily go in and out of the boundary, and I don't have the hill bothering me. Also made some big pow landings for kids to learn new tricks.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    Banff
    Posts
    20,635
    worth asking Jetski. Hes a freestyle coach and in jasper. I'll send him this link


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    599

    Starting a freeride club a your local hill, any advice?

    AP - I for one fully support your initiative.

    My oldest is in the one day program which is a little less spandexy - but still has that focus.

    The hurdle I am not sure about is insurance. The club is through bc alpine and alpine Canada- they mitigate risk by having certified coaches/course setters etc. not sure who would provide liability coverage for a FR team- and without liability ins I would never coach a ďclubĒ (I mean your kids wanna go for a rip with mine on a reg basis is another story) - but the risk is kinda huge.

    So in your conversations with other clubs - this would be a good point of inquiry. Also talk to Cormac or dave Bobb about our ins - they are died in the wool racer types but also great organizers (over 110 kids in the club in our little town from as far away as pr, kitimat and pg)

    Edit - an example of alpine Canada managing risk is that I am not allowed to take my group (team4 Dragons ROCK!!!!!) into the park as I am not certified for park. (I also have no idea what I am doing there and often wreck myself there - so the system works)

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    On a fixed grip somewhere
    Posts
    1,980
    Quote Originally Posted by Angle Parking View Post
    I think my first steps will be to talk to the individuals who have previously tried move this idea forward and the GM of the hill. Should those conversations be encouraging, I will PM you. Thanks for you offer.
    Good call. PM me if interested and we can connect.

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,792
    Quote Originally Posted by LHutz Esq View Post
    AP - I for one fully support your initiative.

    My oldest is in the one day program which is a little less spandexy - but still has that focus.

    The hurdle I am not sure about is insurance. The club is through bc alpine and alpine Canada- they mitigate risk by having certified coaches/course setters etc. not sure who would provide liability coverage for a FR team- and without liability ins I would never coach a “club” (I mean your kids wanna go for a rip with mine on a reg basis is another story) - but the risk is kinda huge.

    So in your conversations with other clubs - this would be a good point of inquiry. Also talk to Cormac or dave Bobb about our ins - they are died in the wool racer types but also great organizers (over 110 kids in the club in our little town from as far away as pr, kitimat and pg)

    Edit - an example of alpine Canada managing risk is that I am not allowed to take my group (team4 Dragons ROCK!!!!!) into the park as I am not certified for park. (I also have no idea what I am doing there and often wreck myself there - so the system works)
    Thanks for responding. I know you have deep roots at Hudson Bay Mountain and your feed back means a lot. Again, I mean no disrespect to the Ski Club or anything. They produce beautiful skiers and like I said, I really hope my daughters want to sign up next year. My oldest opened the door to the possibility so my finger are crossed.

    From my point of view the lack of engagement or stoke whatever it is I am pointing at is not at the younger levels. Your Dragons do indeed rock sir and you guys look like you are having a blast. It's at the 12 and up level that I am perceiving a problem. Please dispel this perception if you disagree. Assuming I am right, and I think I am because I know dozens of teens who used to be in the club and are no longer......

    1. Am I right in my assumption that there is a significant drop off in both numbers and stoke at 12 and up level?
    2. If said lack of stoke etc exists at the teen level, why do you think it is and would a Freeride program keep them in?

    And for that matter, why doesn't the younger paradigm of just skiing around and embedding instruction throughout the day (which is what I think you guys do) continue beyond 12?

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    13,195
    I have no advice other than this, do it.
    Ooof!

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    At the North end of the Parkway
    Posts
    1,560
    Look at the IFSA webpage they are the North American freeski sanctioning org. The info about comps and athlete and coach info is there. They may also have club info. You could look to the Rocky Mountain Freeriders as a a team that didn't piggyback on an alpine team or Lake Louise All Mountain as a team that did they both have webpages and contact info. Jetski is a good contact of you want direction on setting up a club. Good luck, I have had a few days on your mountain ( a friend was the Mountain Manager/patrolling director) and the terrain should support what you want to do. My eldest skied a year on the Junior tour in AB and BC and had a great time.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Northern BC
    Posts
    1,792
    Quote Originally Posted by weibo View Post
    Look at the IFSA webpage they are the North American freeski sanctioning org. The info about comps and athlete and coach info is there. They may also have club info. You could look to the Rocky Mountain Freeriders as a a team that didn't piggyback on an alpine team or Lake Louise All Mountain as a team that did they both have webpages and contact info. Jetski is a good contact of you want direction on setting up a club. Good luck, I have had a few days on your mountain ( a friend was the Mountain Manager/patrolling director) and the terrain should support what you want to do. My eldest skied a year on the Junior tour in AB and BC and had a great time.
    Interesting. If I understand, LL is a base for clubs of the ilk I am interested in, both within the Alpine Canada framework (the equivalent of which is the existing club here at HBM), and outside of that paradigm. Both appear affiliated with the IFSA. I think I know who to contact with regard to the pragmatic considerations but I'll throw this question out there, as a parent, what would draw you to register your kids in one or the other?

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    6,658
    Reach out directly to IFSA. They can connect you with many coaches, some of whom have started programs and some who have run them for years. I can provide contact info if you need it.

    Good on ya.
    Quote Originally Posted by Foggy_Goggles View Post
    If I lived in WA, Oft would be my realtor. Seriously.

  19. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    Location
    At the North end of the Parkway
    Posts
    1,560
    Listen to oftpiste contact IFSA directly. My comment was just two different options for clubs, the Lake actually supports 3 freeski clubs. There are clubs all over BC as well at hills as different in size from Whistler on one end to Kimberley on the other.

    I may be in the minority here but my son chose freeskiing and the team he wanted to join on his own, he joined a team at 16 though. From what I saw about the programs the reasons to choose a freeski program would be, to learn to read and ski the whole mountain, to compete in a really supportive environment, to meet great people and because from who I met the parents aren't crazy. The basis of the program does allow them to use the skills for the rest of their life and they can either continue competing or just ski. If you have a chance to go to a comp go. It will give you a real feel for the scene and the atmosphere around it. Look at the IFSA page and check out the Junior calendar for dates, there should be something almost every weekend until the end of March.
    Move along nothing to see here.

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Sep 2011
    Posts
    599

    Starting a freeride club a your local hill, any advice?

    Quote Originally Posted by Angle Parking View Post
    Thanks for responding. I know you have deep roots at Hudson Bay Mountain and your feed back means a lot. Again, I mean no disrespect to the Ski Club or anything. They produce beautiful skiers and like I said, I really hope my daughters want to sign up next year. My oldest opened the door to the possibility so my finger are crossed.

    From my point of view the lack of engagement or stoke whatever it is I am pointing at is not at the younger levels. Your Dragons do indeed rock sir and you guys look like you are having a blast. It's at the 12 and up level that I am perceiving a problem. Please dispel this perception if you disagree. Assuming I am right, and I think I am because I know dozens of teens who used to be in the club and are no longer......

    1. Am I right in my assumption that there is a significant drop off in both numbers and stoke at 12 and up level?
    2. If said lack of stoke etc exists at the teen level, why do you think it is and would a Freeride program keep them in?

    And for that matter, why doesn't the younger paradigm of just skiing around and embedding instruction throughout the day (which is what I think you guys do) continue beyond 12?
    1. Yep- def a drop off. - Goes in waves - right now there is a pretty big group of racers.
    2. I donít think there is a sport out there that doesnít see a drop off at some point. I saw it in xc, happens in hockey, basketball, .. basically everything. Prob many reasons but a couple that come to mind - kids find other things to do (good and bad). Some kids arenít that into the competitive aspects and that is when it gets ďseriousĒ. We can go on. But would a free ride team help? - sure. Anything that exposes kids to sliding on snow canít be wrong.

    The one day program (as opposed to the two day race orientated program) is a continuation of what we do with the u10s.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Gates of Hell
    Posts
    4,756
    Quote Originally Posted by Bluebird View Post
    I don't have time to write a bunch of stuff out but would be more than willing to speak with you. My wife started the Freeski team at Magic Mountain while I worked there and I am now at a mountain (Mad River Glen) with one of the biggest and most successful freeski teams in the country. We are 100+ strong, growing each year and have kids skiing all over the mountain and the country. From a competitive standpoint we send kids to comps all over NA (even had 3 juniors at junior worlds in Switzerland this year) and they consistently do very, very well. I also helped start the Ski the East Freeride Tour many moons ago. I also have kids in the program. Finally spent time in Juneau, AK and have driven through your area and checked out the hill. You could have a very cool program between the ski area, nearby backcountry, Harkin Banks,etc. Let me know if you want to chat.
    Your son put together a pretty sweet run on Saturday, and yeah - the MRG kids pretty much swept the U12 and U14 podiums at whaleback... so cool to see. Was great to see Mrs BB as well. Any truth to the rumor you'll be accompanying the lad to Magique for the comp on Saturday?
    Going where the wind don't blow so strange
    Maybe on some high cold mountain range

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
    Location
    On a fixed grip somewhere
    Posts
    1,980
    Quote Originally Posted by jgb@etree View Post
    Your son put together a pretty sweet run on Saturday, and yeah - the MRG kids pretty much swept the U12 and U14 podiums at whaleback... so cool to see. Was great to see Mrs BB as well. Any truth to the rumor you'll be accompanying the lad to Magique for the comp on Saturday?
    He had a great time and was pumped on the 1st. The MRG team is a fun group to go to comps with. Super supportive and they ski very well. I'm toying with the idea of coming down. But its gonna be a madhouse up my way and I probably shouldn't leave my crew unsupported.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    228
    Iíve read a few posters referring you to the IFSA - which is the right call - but Iím not sure if anyone posted the web site. Itís www.freeskiers.org

    Freeride is great for those kids who arenít into gates or lapping the park all day, but still want to be a part of a team with other rippers.

    Another thing to consider is that if you are able to put a club together, you may also be able to host an IFSA sanctioned event at your hill. We just had our second (at Whaleback in NH), and it was a great time.

    Good luck 👍

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    Gates of Hell
    Posts
    4,756
    Quote Originally Posted by savemeasammy View Post
    Iíve read a few posters referring you to the IFSA - which is the right call - but Iím not sure if anyone posted the web site. Itís www.freeskiers.org

    Freeride is great for those kids who arenít into gates or lapping the park all day, but still want to be a part of a team with other rippers.

    Another thing to consider is that if you are able to put a club together, you may also be able to host an IFSA sanctioned event at your hill. We just had our second (at Whaleback in NH), and it was a great time.

    Good luck
    Is that clothesline in the lodge downstairs @ whaleback for lost & found? A parent of another kid on my sons team left a pair of xl black r1 midlayer pants in the lodge on saturday. If you are there in the next few days/weeks and see them there could you please grab them & pm me? Happy to send $$ for shipping, or perhaps a whaleback parent would be willing to bring them to Magic on saturday when they come for the comp. Thanks!
    Going where the wind don't blow so strange
    Maybe on some high cold mountain range

  25. #25
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Posts
    228
    Quote Originally Posted by jgb@etree View Post
    Is that clothesline in the lodge downstairs @ whaleback for lost & found? A parent of another kid on my sons team left a pair of xl black r1 midlayer pants in the lodge on saturday. If you are there in the next few days/weeks and see them there could you please grab them & pm me? Happy to send $$ for shipping, or perhaps a whaleback parent would be willing to bring them to Magic on saturday when they come for the comp. Thanks!
    Yes, thatís a lost and found. Iíd be happy to take a look, but I wonít be at the mountain until after the comp (I live an hour away, and I go a different direction to get to Magic).

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •