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Big White Olympian to hang up racing jersey

It’s been a long journey for Tess Critchlow, the snowboard cross athlete and Olympian has announced retirement after wrapping up her 20-year career.

The hometown hero first learned how to snowboard up at Big White Ski Resort and quickly made a name for herself.

She competed in her first-ever race at the annual Neil Edgeworth Memorial Banked Slalom, at just six years old; before being picked up by the BC Snowboard team at 16.

Now, at 27 years old she's garnered three Canadian National Championship wins, multiple top-10 World Cup finishes, a ninth overall placement in the Women's Snowboard Cross at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games and sixth at the 2022 Beijing Olympics

“This pursuit of excellence in snowboard cross has been a constant roller coaster and I wouldn’t trade it in for anything. SBX is such a fun and unique sport, I feel so blessed I was able to call it my job and nothing will replace the highs and happiness I get from racing,” Critchlow said in an Instagram post.

“That being said, high-performance sport also takes, well everything you can give it, and I’m no longer in a place that I can give it what it/I need to keep climbing the ranks. I’ve known for a while this would be my decision but it doesn’t make it any easier. It’s hard leaving with the feeling that you still have potential in the sport, but I think every athlete feels this; and regardless of all the “what if’s” and “maybes”, when you know you know.”

Although Critchlow is stepping into retirement, that doesn’t mean she’ll be stepping away from the sport entirely.

In fact, she went on to explain that she hopes to dive deeper into other aspects of snowboarding; along with different sports and other active, adrenaline pumping and health-related career goals.

</who>Photo credit: Big White Ski Resort

“The Big White family, the owners, staff and those who call the mountain home, could not be more proud of Tess,” said Michael J. Ballingall, Senior Vice President, Big White Ski Resort Ltd.

“We’ve had the amazing opportunity to witness Tess grow into not only an incredible athlete but a kind and generous person – giving of her time, skill and knowledge to anyone who asked. We wish her the best of luck in this new chapter.”

KelownaNow last spoke with Critchlow in February, when she returned from her run at the 2022 Beijing Olympics.

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