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Martin dies in mountain-biking accident

Ski-cross racer was Alpine Canada rising star
Mikayla Martin, shown here during her gold-medal win at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in 2018, died in a mountain-biking accident in Squamish on Oct. 1. PHOTO BY NEIL KERR COURTESY OF WINTER GAMES NZ

THE SKI COMMUNITY IS IN MOURNING after Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus and Squamish resident Mikayla Martin died in a mountain-biking accident on Oct. 1.

In a release, Alpine Canada confirmed that the 22-year-old ski-cross racer died after an accident near her home in Squamish.

"We wish to express our most sincere condolences to Christine and James, Mikayla's parents, as well as her entire family and circle of friends," Alpine Canada president and CEO Vania Grandi said in a release. "Mikayla embodied a love of skiing and passion for ski cross that were boundless and words can't express how sorely she'll be missed."

Squamish RCMP said in a release that its officers received a call from the BC Ambulance Service at 5:15 p.m. to respond to a medical call on the Stawamus Chief. Police arrived at the staging area at Stawamus School, where Squamish Search and Rescue and Squamish Fire Services members were already present. Squamish Search and Rescue found Martin and a male she was riding with in the Slhaney Trail system. Search and rescue members continued life-saving measures and transferred Martin into an air ambulance, though she did not survive.

"The death of Mikayla is a huge loss for the community of Squamish and an immense loss for her family and friends and our thoughts are with them," Sgt. Sascha Banks said in a release from Squamish RCMP, in concert with Squamish Search and Rescue and the BC Coroners Service. "It can't be stressed more that adventuring in Squamish comes with inherent risks. We can only ask that you take that one more risk assessment, one more second to check the geographics, one more look at your equipment, and one more conversation about what the plan is. We all want people to live doing what they love."

Said Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott: "In a town that celebrates mountain adventure, we are heartbroken to hear of the loss of this young life, so filled with talent and promise. On behalf of the District of Squamish, I wish to extend our sincere condolences to Mikayla's family and friends, and to all Squamish locals who will mourn for her in the wake of this tragic outcome."

Martin grew up racing alpine, but switched to ski-cross after the 2016-17 season. She immediately cracked the national team and won the FIS Junior World Championship in Cardrona, New Zealand the following summer.

Martin also achieved a pair of top-10 results on the FIS World Cup circuit in 2018-19, including a sixth-place finish in Innichen, Italy. She qualified for the FIS World Ski Championships in Utah, where she sustained a season-ending injury in the small final.

For more, check back with Pique.