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'(Posted 10:30 p.m., April 19)
Young skier returns from experience of a lifetime
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

Orléans skier Stephanie Gould recently returned from out west where she competed in the K2 National Championships and the Whistler Cup. File photo


For a young skier, having a chance to compete in the K2 National Championships can often be the highlight of their careers. Having the opportunity to take part in the national championships and the Whistler Cup, which brings together the best young skiers in the world, in back-to-back competitions is often the highlight of their lives.

Orléans resident Stephanie Gould, 14, recently returned from an extended trip to the Rockies where she took part in both events as the reigning Quebec K2 champion.

At the K2 President's Choice National Championships at the Silver Mountain Resort in Vernon, B.C., she finished 11th in the Super Combined event, sixth in the super-G and 10th in the slalom.

She was in position to finish in the top 10 overall, but a bad gate on her first run in the giant slalom doomed her chances. Although she rebounded with a terrific second run, the damage had already been done.

After spending a few days with her parents who made the trip out west to be with their daughter, she arrived in Whistler to take part in the Whistler Cup.

After finishing a disappointing 23rd in the super-G on the opening day of the event -- she placed 14th among the Canadians in the race -- Gould failed to complete her second run in the slalom. She then placed 29th in the giant slalom on the last day of the event

While the Grade 9, Louis Riel student wasn't overly thrilled with her results, they were impressive nonetheless, especially when you consider that she didn't even crack the top 20 at last year's K2 Quebec Championships.

Back home in Orléans, the disappointment has already worn off.

"It was so much fun being around other kids my age. It was amazing," says Gould, who is a gifted road racer, as well as a former top flight triathlete. "It was so nice to meet new people from different provinces and different countries."

While Gould has skiied in the Rockies several times in the past, it was always recreational. Having to compete brought a whole new level to the experience. Most of the competitors from Ontario and Quebec were at an distinct disadvantage compared to their peers from out west, especially in the first couple of races.

"It was totally different. Here we usual race on ice and there you're always skiing on powder. A lot of the guys had hard time setting their skis up," says Gould who plans to take the summer off before deciding whether or not she'll continue with competitive skiing.

"We'll see. Competing (in B.C.) was a once in a lifetime experience. I'm never going to be able to compete at this level again."

'(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

 

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