Jasper freestyle skier invited to join provincial team – Jasper’s source for news, sports, arts, culture and more

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Local freestyle skier Gage Leblanc shows off the skills that led to him being chosen to join the Freestyle Alberta moguls team. | Photo provided

Jason Stockfish | advertising@fitzhugh.ca

With his eye on the prize and the opportunity at hand, local freestyle skier Gage Leblanc has accepted a spot on Alberta’s high performance mogul team.

Skiing since the age of three and a freestyle mogul skier at the age of 10, the 16-year-old has been training for this moment for 13 years.

“I was recognized as one of the best mogul skiers in Alberta (and) I was invited…to be on (the provincial team),” said Leblanc.

“I’m super excited because it’s a step in the right direction towards my goal of becoming an Olympic gold medalist.”

However, there is a financial hurdle the young athlete must overcome before they can take the next step on their journey.

The cost of the program is around $35,000 per year, and Leblanc does not have that kind of funding at hand.

“Coming from a middle-class or working-class family, it’s hard to come up with $35,000 for pocket money,” he said.

LeBlanc needs $15,000 by June 21 before heading to Whistler for the team’s first ski camp.

The necessary money will be used for training costs, travel, accommodation, fuel, insurance and other essentials while the young skier travels across Canada and North America to represent Jasper and Alberta.

“So I’m looking for support in the Jasper community and the business community, and I’ve had some really good responses so far.”

“It’s definitely a step in the right direction, but I still need more support.”

The national team is Leblanc’s next target, but before an athlete is recognized by Team Canada and chosen to qualify for the Olympics, they have to be the best in their sport for several years, Leblanc explained.

“To excel as a freestyle skier, I have to constantly push my limits, improve my technique and work harder with every training session,” said Leblanc.

“I will be committing to approximately 220 days of training and competition across North America over the next year.”

In addition to the talent, skills, determination and support of his family and friends, Leblanc said he has benefited from exceptional guidance over the years.

Jasper will be well represented at the provincial level, as Leblanc’s coach on the Jasper Freestyle team, Chris Peel, will also be his coach on the Alberta Freestyle team, as Freestyle Alberta recently announced that Peel has been hired to be the new head coach of the mogul team.

As Leblanc works towards his dream of one day becoming an Olympian, he explained that the opportunity given to him was made possible through the support of his family, teachers, coaches and the kindness of the community. .

“I was very blessed and honored to grow up in Jasper and (the opportunity) to represent this community is pretty huge for me,”

To help Leblanc raise the funds needed to pursue his ambitious dream, individuals and businesses can donate to his “Make a Champ” campaign on social media.

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