Canadian national team ski jumper Greg Baxter can’t wait to fly off the new ski jumps at the 2010 Nordic venue in the Callaghan Valley.
“I just can’t wait to see some snow on the jumps and be able to finally jump off them,” he said.
“Since 1995 Calgary has had the only ski jumps in Canada so having these new jumps will just be amazing. To be able to train on brand new hills at home, it’s something that I have never been able to do since I started ski jump training.”
Baxter, 16, was in Squamish last week to raise awareness about the sport of ski jumping as the Callaghan venue gets ready to host its first events this winter.
Indeed Baxter dreams of being the first jumper to fly off the jumps as the team gets ready to practice at the venue ahead of the January North American Junior and Canadian championships.
He also dreams of achieving podium success at the 2010 Games.
Baxter already fulfilled a life-long goal of competing at the Olympics by representing Canada at the 2006 Winter Games in Torino.
“It was probably one of the most amazing experiences of my life,” he said. “It was the first time a Canadian has represented Canada for ski jumping since 1992.
“I didn’t jump as well as I had hoped but it is still one of the best memories of my life for jumping.”
Baxter hopes British Columbians come out in droves to vicariously experience ski jumping in the Callaghan.
“Ski jumping is an amazing sport,” he said. “It is not like anything else you will ever see. To see somebody fly through the air going 90 kilometres an hour is incredible.
“It is such a unique and original sport it is something people should come and see at least once.”
And with the sport being somewhat new to spectators in Canada it will be possible to get very close to the venues. In Europe they routinely have tens of thousands of spectators at competitions.
Baxter, and his teammate Stefan Read, 20, are firmly focused on getting results leading up to the Games. Baxter placed 16 th twice in the 2007 Summer Grand Prix circuit in Japan. He hopes improved results will lead to more funding.
“I definitely think that if my team is able to get some good results that will help the funding situation,” he said.