Kerfoot gets by with help from friends 

Freestyler sets sights on World Cup, Olympics

What: Sylvia Kerfoot fundraiser

Where : Savage Beagle

When: Nov. 15, 9 p.m.

After suffering a few setbacks in the past few seasons, including several injuries, Whistler’s Sylvia Kerfoot is ready to take on the World Cup circuit this season.

She spent the entire summer training on her own and with the national team, and hopes to build on her strong finish in the nationals last season, where she finished with a silver in dual moguls and a bronze in moguls. And unlike last season, she’s starting the year injury free.

Although she does receive some support from Sport Canada and the Canadian Freestyle Ski Team, Kerfoot will have to foot much of the bill herself this year. With competitions coming up in the U.S., Europe and Asia, that can get expensive.

"Sport Canada did increase its athlete assistance program about five years ago, it’s still really difficult unless you’re top five in the world," said Kerfoot.

"It’s a total Catch-22 because you need funding to be in the top-five."

Kerfoot worked all summer, but spent every cent she earned at a two-week team Canada training camp at Zermatt, Switzerland.

"It was great training, but it was in Europe and that meant air travel. It’s not cheap," she said.

She also trained on the glacier in Whistler, and spent some time with the national team on the Farnham Glacier outside of Panorama. The Farnham Glacier is being tested and evaluated as a potential location for a permanent national training centre for snow sport athletes.

"The snow was good, the terrain was good, and we got to know the athletes from the alpine team and snowboard team," said Kerfoot.

For athletes paying their own way, it was also a lot more affordable.

To raise money to cover her competitive costs this season, Kerfoot is hosting a fundraiser party at the Savage Beagle next weekend. The theme is Old School Verses New School: Battle of the Eras.

"It’s kind of a joke. For the longest time mogul skiing was considered old school, but starting last year the rules changed and the sport is taking on new school tricks. Now you can go inverted, go off-axis, the rules are pretty open. I just thought it was a fun theme to do for a party," said Kerfoot.

Tickets are $10 in advance, and slightly more at the door.

Inside there will be a silent auction from 9 to 11 p.m., as well as a raffle and door prizes. Prizes include skis, jackets, and a variety of other items.

Kerfoot says she doesn’t know what she would do if she wasn’t in Whistler.

"The nice thing about Whistler is that it’s a small town, which is great because local businesses are always willing to donate things and support local athletes however they can. If I lived in a city like Vancouver, it would be more difficult. We’re a lot more close-knit," Kerfoot said.

"There are also a lot of athletes here and people who follow your sport, which makes it easier."

The freestyle season starts on Dec. 8 with the U.S. Team qualifier at Park City, Utah. The top Americans in the qualifier will be selected to the national development team, and Canadians use the event to qualify for the World Cup team.

The following week Park City will host a Nor Am event, which Kerfoot will also compete in.

After Christmas, Kerfoot with join the national team for the World Cup at Mt. Tremblant.

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