Despite being only 12 and 13, two Oak Bay skiers each have a decade of experience behind them heading for BC Winter Games competition this week in Kamloops.
The BC Winter Games are in Kamloops from Feb. 22 to 25 and feature 1,229 athletes are from every corner of the province and compete in 19 different sports.
Maya Djurickovic, 12 and a Grade 7 student at St. Michaels University School and Ian Taylor, 13, a Grade 7 student at Glenlyon Norfolk School hit the slopes with their peers in alpine ski competition at Sun Peaks. The Games feature racers 12 and 13 years old and are the youngest group of carded racers in the national ski racing system. Two different disciplines are part of the BC Winter Games – Giant Slalom and Slalom.
“I think it’ll be really fun meeting all the people from different events and I think I’ll make lot of new friends and all the skiing of course,” says Maya, who skied that mountain during the Nancy Greene festival as a youngster.
Ian, who competed had a “fun good experience” at U14 provincials in Whistler last year, looks forward to the slalom competition and hanging out with his friends. He’ll take that competition experience and use it to target a personal best, maybe top 10.
“I like slalom the best. It’s short turns. It’s really satisfying to hit the gates,” Ian says. “I’m going to just make my first run and then give it all in my second run.”
“Ian really just goes for it all the time, especially in races,” agrees Maya, who also prefers slalom over GS. “I like doing smaller turns more than bigger ones. I find it more fun. I also like being on smaller skis you can do more.”
She plans to go hard too and incorporate “all the things I’ve been working on since the beginning of the season and put them into the race.”
Being on the younger side of the competition, she plans to gauge her results within that younger set, not necessarily the podium.
Both young Oak Bay athletes also have older siblings who attended the Games in the alpine competition.
“It’s a positive experience. There’s a lot of responsibilities that go along with it,” says Nikki Taylor, Ian’s mom. “It gave them confidence, they’re on their own and they have to get up in the morning and get their stuff. They don’t have a parent there.”
Ian and Maya feel confident with the responsibilty, and say they’ll enjoy hanging out on the slopes.
“I hope they focus on the fun,” says Elisa Djurickovic. “It should be a growth experience, going and trying their best and hopefully getting result that makes them feel good about tall the hard work they’ve been doing.”
Follow the Games at bcgames.org.