It was April 21, 2011— right in the middle of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival — and the GLC (perhaps Whistler’s busiest après spot, for the uninitiated) was packed on a sunny spring afternoon.
There were hundreds more outside the bar watching a free concert in Skiers Plaza — I think Black Mountain was the band, but it really doesn’t matter. What was happening inside the GLC that day was much more important.
It had been about two weeks since the IOC had announced it would accept halfpipe skiing as an Olympic discipline for the 2014 Olympics, which were going to take place at Russian resort we knew little about.
Towards the back of the room, crammed together at the only two tables available, were all of Canada’s best halfpipe skiers, awaiting an announcement from Canadian Freestyle Ski Association CEO Peter Judge. Standing to address the group, Judge was about to speak, but had to move out of the way for a waitress carrying an order of Ahi Tuna Crisps to some other table.
It was there, at the back of a bar, huddled around the Crystal Globe it had just won, that the Canadian halfpipe team was officially introduced and brought into the CFSA fold. It was there, over the murmur of the GLC crowd and the roar of the rock show outside, that Judge declared Canada would win two medals in this new Olympic discipline in Sochi.
On Thursday, Roz Groenewoud and Keltie Hansen have a chance to make Judge’s prophecy come true. Yet, 34 months ago, there was no way to predict the journey this team would take to get there.