By Deb Everts
In celebration of HoliMont’s “2018 Olympic Hopefuls,” the resort will host an exciting event 7 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 28 at the Main Chalet.
The casual cocktail reception is to support HoliMont’s own world-class athletes who have graduated from its competitive programs.
This year, six of HoliMont’s athletes are among the best in their respective sports and are all hopeful future Olympians. Most importantly, all six started their journey at HoliMont and are currently racing for their respective national teams at the highest level such as World Cups and national events.
Tricia Mangan skis for the U.S. Alpine Ski Team and Robbie Andison is on Canada’s National Freestyle Team (moguls). Kaylie Buck, Megan Farrell, Darren Gardner and Jennifer Hawkrigg are all Canadian National Team snowboard racers.
Five of the six athletes are expected to attend the event to sign commemorative posters (provided) and answer questions. There will be entertainment, door prizes, wine, beer and whiskey tasting from sponsors, as well as snacks and drinks from Dina’s.
Admission is $50 per person or $100 per family, which includes kids under 21 years old. There will be silent auction and live auction items to bid on.
The “Olympic Hopefuls” fundraiser at HoliMont is open to anyone who wants to attend, not for members only. All of the funds, net of expenses, will be divided among the athletes and used for training and travel expenses.
Ed Farrell, father of snowboarding champion Megan Farrell, said the focus of the event is to bring the members and the public closer to these athletes to share their success and wish them well. He said this is the second year the fundraising event has been held to show support for HoliMont’s national team athletes who have set their sights on the 2018 Olympics.
According to Farrell, the athletes’ current schedules are varied but are primarily centered in Europe, with an occasional North American or Asian event. In some cases, the athletes will be competing to try to qualify right up to the end of January. The Olympics are scheduled to begin in February in South Korea.
DARREN GARDNER, 27, of British Columbia, is a three-time Canadian National Champion. Ranked No. 1 nationally, he is in the Top 30 in the world. Gardner competed in his first United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) Snowboard Nationals in Waterville Valley, N.H.
After graduating high school, Gardner was invited to train with the National Development team in Calgary. In 2009, he joined the Development Team and, in 2010, he was named to the National Team and participated in his first World Cup Race. By 2012, he was competing full-time on the World Cup circuit.
JENNIFER HAWKRIGG, 21, of Toronto, Ontario, is a member of the Canadian National Development Team competing in World Cup competitions and NORAM races.
She was a member of the HoliMont Snowboard Race Team, the Ontario Race Team and the Canadian Junior Team. By the end of high school, she had competed in every Junior World Championship. Last year, she competed in the World University Games in Kazakhstan and placed fourth in the parallel slalom event.
“I continue to set high expectations for my professional snowboarding career, and this year, I’m eager to qualify and represent Canada at the Olympics,” she said.
KAYLIE BUCK, 17, of Oakville, Ontario, is an alpine snowboard racer on the Canadian National Team. She has competed on the Snowboard Ontario and USASA circuits, as well as the USASA nationals.
Last season, Buck attended the Junior World Championships in the Czech Republic finishing 6th, the best result for Canada. She achieved 3rd place overall on the NorAm tour, earning herself a personal World Cup spot for the 2017-18 season, as well as a spot on the Canadian National Team.
“I will be competing on the World Cup circuit, Europa Cup circuit and the NorAm circuit to achieve the results I need to qualify for the upcoming 2018 Olympic Winter Games,” she said.
MEGAN FARRELL, 25, is a Canadian National Snowboard Champion from Richmond Hill, Ontario. In both 2015 and 2016, she became the North American Champion. Her goal for this season is to qualify and compete at the Olympics.
“Since 2015, I have been on the national team racing in World Cups full-time,” she said. “Last year at the Olympic test event in Korea, I finished in 30th position, which qualified me for World Championships in Spain. It was an honor to represent Canada in the prestigious event, and I finished in 26th position. My best result thus far.”
ROBBIE ANDISON, 20, comes from Oakville, Ontario, and skis with the Canada Moguls Team.
His career highlights are 2015 Canada Cup winner, Silver medallist at the 2015 Canadian Senior Mogul Championships (dual moguls) and Gold medallist at the 2015 Canada Games (dual moguls). In early 2015, he was named to the Canadian National Mogul Team, the most successful national team in the world.
“Not only does this fundraiser help the national team athletes, but I believe it really brings awareness to sports at HoliMont, and will hopefully motivate young up and coming athletes to follow their ski dreams and one day compete for their country,” he said.
PATRICIA “TRICIA” MANGAN, 24, of Derby, N.Y., is a member of the U.S. Ski Team. The former National Training Group athlete took a spot on the podium of juniors in giant slalom during the 2015 season at the U.S. Alpine Championships in Sugarloaf, Maine.
In 2016, Mangan topped the Super G podium among juniors at the U.S. Alpine Championships, in Sun Valley, Idaho. She won the NorAM Super G and Alpine Combined Overall award, in March. With four World Cup starts, she was in the Top 30 in St. Moritz’ Super “G” in Switzerland, Dec. 9.
More information on the achievements of all six Olympic Hopefuls can be found online at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Gardner and Andison also have websites, darrengardner.ca and robbieandison.com.