Two members of the newly formed regional U18 Okanagan Ski Team will represent Canada at the Youth Olympic Games Lillehammer, Norway Feb. 12-22.
Ryan Moffatt of Kelowna and Reece Howden of Chilliwack, both 17, earned berths on the Canadian team in recent qualifying races at Panorama Mountain Resort and Sun Peaks Resort respectively.
Moffatt put together a pair of solid performances in the slalom and giant slalom events, placing second and third to secure one of the four spots available on Team Canada. Rounding out Canada’s alpine team are Justin Alkier and Ali Nullmeyer from Ontario and Invermere's Amelia Smart, formerly of Vernon.
At Sun Peaks, Howden nailed down one of just two spots — one male and one female — on the Canadian ski cross team. Kimberley’s Zoe Chore will also represent her country.
“The skill level these two athletes demonstrated was very high, and Canada will be very well-represented with Reece and Zoe,” said ski cross athletic director, Willy Raine.
Catherine Martin of Kelowna, the Okanagan Alpine zone chair, said having four of the six Team Canada members from B.C. was "very exciting."
“But having two of the four from the Okanagan Ski Team is an even greater accomplishment, and it speaks volumes as to the athletes’ work ethic, dedication and determination. We are very proud of them and their coach Derek Trussler.”
Martin noted that the Youth Olympic Games will give the teenage athletes the opportunity to learn about high-performance sport and meet Olympic champions and role models from around the world.”