By Vivian Moreau
“Keep those elbows ahead of the body with nice, long, loose arms.”
Sound like a ski lesson? It is, but a 60-second version. It’s long-time Whistler ski instructor Chris Kent sharing a tip on how to nail high performance ski turns — and to not just one aspiring skier but perhaps millions.
Kent is one of two Whistler ski instructors short-listed from hundreds who sent in ski tip videos to Pontiac World of Skiing, a ski and snowboard show broadcast on Rogers Sports Net and locally on Resort TV. With ski tip host Rob Butler retiring after 25 years, the show launched a nationwide search two months ago for a new host and chose Whistler residents, Kent and Mountain FM personality Steve Hainsworth, as two of 10 semi-finalists from dozens of entries.
Kent’s video on where to keep your arms and Hainsworth’s on the importance of proper warm up will be voted on in an American Idol-style online vote that will determine which one gets to take Butler’s place. In addition to spending about two weeks of the year filming short, practical skiing advice, there will be a public relations component to the part, Hainsworth says.
Hainsworth, 32, has lived in Whistler since 1999 and says his background in broadcasting coupled with practical ski instructing are some of the skills he could bring to the position.
A regular host at the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, Hainsworth had friends film his tip on Whistler’s Crabapple run in time for the contest’s Feb. 15 deadline.
Kent, 45, has lived in Whistler since 1990 but has coached Dave Murray ski camps for 20 years. He decided to enter a video because he just likes to help people become better skiers. “I like to simplify the whole process as much as possible,” he said. He chose his tip because “there are so many strange things people do with their arms.”
Show producer Chris Robinson said the winner will be announced online in early April and filming will take place in Whistler before that month’s end. Robinson said he and Rob Butler will choose a winner based on the candidate’s skiing ability, communications strengths, the technical concepts and on-screen presence.
An abbreviated version of Pontiac World of Skiing is broadcast on Whistler Resort TV, said managing partner Jacki Bissillion. Ski tips segments are broadcast six times a day on channel two.
March 31 is the deadline for online voting. To check out ski tip finalists go to www.skitelevision.com .
“If you’re going to vote in this at all, please vote for locals,” Hainsworrth said.