A mix of talented veterans and hungry rookies make up a group of 16 athletes named Thursday to the B.C. Alpine Ski Team after six-months of preparation that has the team feeling "race ready".
Among the 2012-13 team members is Oyama's Sarah Elliot, a product of the Kelowna Ski Club's Big White Racers.
Elliot, 20, one of five skiers who competed with the Alpine Canada Prospect Team last season, rejoins the provincial team with aspirations to make the jump to the World Cup level.
"I had a great experience with the Prospect Team last season, but unfortunately I tore my (anterior cruciate ligament) again, but I feel really confident going into this season," said Elliot. "With the dryland I had this summer and the great training we had this fall, I feel great. My goals for this season are to have a healthy, injury-free year, have fun and qualify for the national team."
Elliot, raised on an orchard, is no stranger to hard work and dedication, and she sees a bright future for the team.
"I've been really impressed with the young girls on the team, with their skiing and how they're super focused," said Elliot. "The team dynamic is getting better and better as we all gel more and support each other. We're having fun."
The team will be together Dec. 19-22 in Panorama Mountain Village to compete at the FIS Van Houtte Cup technical races.
Kelowna Ski Club lowers entry-level fees
Addressing the ongoing economic strain, the Kelowna Ski Club is lowering entry-level fees to make its program more accessible to families on a budget.
The Nancy Greene program for children five to 11 years old has had its registration fees cut, and a new hot lunch program is available to make a day trip to Big White Ski Resort more affordable and comfortable for families.
"All of our coaches are certified through the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation and they continue their education and mentoring with elite level coaches working in our club," said Trevor Haaheim, head coach and program director of the KSC.
"It's a great opportunity to develop good basic ski fundamentals and leave with a skill that will last a lifetime," added KSC president Catherine Martin.
"The kids have tons of fun making new friends who like to ski and it's a sport the entire family can enjoy."
The Nancy Greene program will run for 10 weeks, beginning Jan. 5, and there are full and half day options.
For families wanting to sample the program before committing to the season, there is a rookie camp that runs Dec. 22-23 at Big White.
For more information and program registration, visit www.bigwhiteracers.com.
Racquetball tryouts taking place in Kelowna
Some of Canada's top players are in the Central Okanagan this weekend for the first Racquetball Canada national team selection event of the season.
The first step on the road to the 2013 Pan American championships began on Friday at the Global Fitness and Racquet Centre in Kelowna. In the field are several past and current Canadian champions, including Kris Odegard of Saskatoon and Jennifer Saunders of Winnipeg.
Also among the 14 men and five women competing will be past Canadian team members Tim Landeryou and Nathaniel Husuak of Saskatoon, Eric Deroschers of Ancaster, Ont., and Christine Richardson of Regina.
Former Kelowna resident Eric Urteaga, now living in Vancouver, is also among the players taking part Friday through Sunday.
Results from this weekend will be combined with results from the national-team selection event in February of 2013 in Brossard, Que., to select the players who will represent Canada at the 2013 Pan American championships in March.
The men's final goes today at 6 p.m., while the women's final will take place at 11 a.m. on Sunday.
The tournament schedule and results are available online at the Racquetball Canada website: www.racquetball.ca.
3-point outing for Tier 3 Rockets
After suffering their first loss of the season a week earlier, the first-place Kelowna Rockets rebounded by taking three of a possible four points in Okanagan Mainline Amateur Hockey Association Tier 3 Midget play.
The Rockets opened with a 2-2 draw with Chase in which Lathan McKinney and Colton Horne scored for the winners.
On Sunday, the Kelowna Minor Hockey Association representatives edged the Vernon Vipers 2-1 on goals by Brian Hryniuk and Nicolas Robbins.
Okanagan swim club hands out awards
The Kelowna-based Okanagan Masters Swim Club recognized the achievements of its members and other volunteers at its annual general meeting recently.
OMSC awards chair Tracey Sutton congratulated the following recipients:
Jeanette Hoft - co-recipient for volunteer of the year award in her role as OMSC communications director.
Allegra Rogers - most improved swimmer of the year.
Cailla Patterson - non-member volunteer of the year.
Brent Hobbs - most inspirational swimmer.
Neil Wyper - most improved swimmer.
Tony Hoft - co-recipient for volunteer of the year in his role as OMSC president.
Carmelle Guidi-Swan - swimmer of the year.
Mike Stamhuis received the Elena Dimitrov Award for courage and determination.
OMSC has 93 members with H2O Aquatic Centre as its home base. The club has built a reputation as one of the top masters swim clubs in Canada. It offers nine swim sessions per week under the guidance of five coaches - John Smirl, Eli Dimitrov, Sue Morrison, Pascal Sutherland and Nelson Chapman.
The OMSC also acknowledged the "Cardiac Team", a group of five club swimmers who work at the Kelowna General Hospital on the Cardiac Unit.
For more information about the Okanagan Masters Swim Club, visit its website www.okmasters.com or email
Undefeated clash Sunday in KWBL
A showdown of two undefeated teams in the Kelowna Women's Basketball League is set for Sunday at UBC Okanagan.
Triple Threat and ServCo Surge, both 5-0, will meet in one of two games beginning at 6 p.m. at UBCO's gymnasium. The other match sees Blue Steel (2-3) taking on Lake Country Building (3-2). The 7:30 p.m. games will have LifeMark (3-2) meeting winless Crazy 8s and the Rainmakers (1-4) playing the Rookies (1-4).
Action last weekend saw ServCo extend its unbeaten streak to five games with an 82-42 win over Lake Country.
Kim Whelpton scored 26 points to lead the winners, while Robyn Buna added 22 and Cassidy Deveer, 12. Jen Austin and Laura Campbell replied with 11 and 10, respectively, in a losing cause.
Triple Threat took down Blue Steel 81-24, led by Debra Sandberg's 24 points. Lisa Nevoral added 20 and Meghan Faust chipped in with 17. Jen Laird was the top point-getter for the Steel with 13.
LifeMark got a 24-point effort from Marni Richardson on the way to a 62-39 victory over The Rookies. Jacquie Lalonde contributed 13 points and Tasie Haluska-Brown finished with 11. The Rookies were led by Carrie Snaychuk (17 points) and Cassidy Schultz (12).
Melanie Coon was the top scorer on the night with 29 points as her Lakeview Market Rainmakers defeated the Crazy 8s 69-34.
Kelowna to host provincial rugby final
A provincial under-19 men's tier 2 rugby championship will be played in Kelowna for the first time today at City Park Oval.
The Kelowna Crows will host the Coquitlam United beginning at 1 p.m.
The Crows earned a berth in the final by defeating the Burnaby Lake side 15-7 in Burnaby last Saturday in a game that was originally scheduled for Kelowna. But, because Burnaby's support staff was unable to travel, the Crows agreed to make the trek to the Lower Mainland.
Jed Anderson opened the scoring for the Crows five minutes into the match, but Burnaby came back to take the lead at 7-3. Kelowna's Cole Mosychuk then countered with a try to make it 10-7 for the visitors at the half. Conditions deteriorated in the second half,but the Crows did break through for a second try by Joey Wallick to secure the win.
"I was very proud of the boys and how they stuck with it," said coach Chuck Bullock. "It was a dog-fight out there and our forwards, especially, really fronted up. Ultimately I think we needed to feel that pressure and have that sort of a test before heading into (today's) final."