Apex Mountain freestyle skiing training elevated with new state-of-the-art piece of equipment

Equipment elevates ski club

The Apex Freestyle Club has set up a new piece of equipment for their team, one of only two of its kind in Canada, continuing to add to their training venue in an effort to become Western Canada's freestyle skiing capital.

“This landing bag is amazing, it's a really cool piece of equipment. I mean wish I had this when I was coming up and going through the ranks. I know that would have A, made my progressions safer and B, made it probably, two years after for some of my harder tricks,” Kristi Richards, the head coach, and program director for Freestyle Apex said.

Richards is also a former Olympian in the sport and was thrilled to see the landing bag begin to set up.

“It's just so cool to have this on the hill,” she said. “The club's been planning this since late summer and in this day and age, it's kind of that piece of equipment you need for safety and progression of all these high degree difficulty tricks.”

Apex general manager James Shalman said they’re still exploring the future of the landing bag, but this could mean the hill becomes a spot for summer training, by combining carpets that mimic the ski area onto the jump and the landing bag.

“We're just very excited. Apex Mountain Resort is known as a leader in the freestyle training community and this is just further going to put us on the map so very excited to have it,” Shalman said.

The learning curve for athletes now with this new equipment is described as ‘exponential.’ The typical progression is to learn the trick on the trampoline first, then learn it on water ramps before heading to the ski hill.

“Then you have this gap between the summer learning it on water, to snow. This is removing that gap and making that take-off and landing a lot more realistic because you're taking off on snow and now you're landing with a landing bag,” Richards said.

The landing bag sits 14 meters wide by 27 metres long, with a pitch of 27 degrees.

“For it to be the club's asset is huge, so that we're not renting something or having to travel to facilities like this,” Richards explained. “Our teams used to travel all the way to Quebec to the other landing bag that's in Canada, so to keep the western athletes here is amazing.”

“It’s a really great resource for the athlete when they're learning to get to that next level as far as air awareness,” Shalman added.

On Sunday, coaches will be the first to test the landing bag out.

A Snowboard club is also in the works for next season, underneath Freestyle Apex. They're starting off first with a snowboard camp on March 16,17 and 18.

“We just launched this camp two days ago for 16 kids and it's already full,” Richards added.

Ross Rebagliati, an Olympic gold medalist snowboarder and Donny Ellis, a former pro snowboarder and owner of The BumWrap are both ambassadors for the snowboarding club.

For now, the landing bag is just for the athletes, but Apex expects it to 'attract tons of different teams.'

For more information on the Freestyle team and snowboard camps visit freestyleapex.com

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