Whiplash Willow (Willow Martin). Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Whiplash Willow (Willow Martin). Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Roller derby tournament to expand

The Snow Valley Slam could be expanded to an eight-team, two-day tournament next year.

The Snow Valley Slam could be expanded to an eight-team tournament over two days when it returns to Fernie next year.

Local team Avalanche City Roller Derby hosted the second annual event on June 2 in Sparwood due to the continued closure of the Fernie Memorial Arena.

“Last year we started it with a three-team tournament, we were hoping to expand this year and we would have if we were hosting the tournament at home,” said Andrea “Jenna Jammerson” Grenier.

“We didn’t want to do a two-day tournament out here because of the accommodation struggle. We’re hoping maybe next year we’ll expand it to an eight-team tournament (over) two days.

“This is the first year that it’s a fully sanctioned Women’s Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA) tournament, so all of the teams playing are full member leagues with WFTDA.”

Roller derby teams travelled from Seattle, U.S., Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and Airdrie, Alberta, to compete against the Fernie adult and youth squads on June 2.

The bombsQUAD was first off the rank, playing Airdrie side Rocky View Junior Roller Derby.

The junior team from Fernie consists of children aged seven to 17 and went down 214-296 to Rocky View, despite putting up a good fight. The roller derby season runs from November to June and Avalanche City has one more event before taking a break over summer.

They will hold a new skater intake, known as Fresh Meat, in the fall.

Trish “Trip Vicous” Walker encouraged anyone interested in joining to keep an eye out for updates around late August.

“We’re always looking for skaters and it fits in with so many lifestyles,” she said.

“We’re all moms, we all have super busy lives and roller derby is often not our only athletic pursuit, but it fits.

“It’s commitment heavy, we don’t lie about that, it takes a lot of our time, but it’s so worth it.

“We train from zero knowledge, so people who want to skate shouldn’t be afraid to try out, we’ll teach you everything you need to know.”

Grenier has been playing since the derby’s inception seven years ago and said she enjoyed the challenge and athleticism of the sport.

“It’s just amazing that even our oldest skater (who) is mid-40s and can be playing a competitive sport that challenges both mentally and physically,” she said.

“The family as well is amazing. We have such a great support system and we are like a family.”

The Free Press

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