After competing and doing well in local skier cross competitions last season, Whistlers Ashleigh McIvor decided to crank things up a little this year.
Two weeks ago the 19-year-old entered an X-Games qualifier at Lake Tahoe, testing her skills against an experienced international field for the first time. She was the fastest skier in the qualifier and won every race through to the finals, which she then took by a large margin.
With only one professional event under her belt, she will face the toughest competition in the world at the Winter X-Games. This year the Games will be held in Aspen, Colorado from Jan. 30 to Feb. 4.
"I dont have ridiculously high expectations or anything, but I did pretty well the first time," said McIvor.
A former ski racer, McIvor was climbing the ranks to the national team when she broke her leg two and a half years ago. Her leg hurt too much to race the next season and she dropped off the competitive circuit to focus on her studies at UBC.
Last season she got the itch to compete again, and decided to test her legs in some local skier cross races. She did well in every race she entered, and this year decided to try her luck at Tahoe.
Having lived in Whistler her whole life, McIvor says she is looking forward to representing her home town at the X-Games she just needs a little help to get there.
Ski industry sponsors have been calling her since her win at Lake Tahoe, but none of them could help with her travel and competition costs as they had already spent their budgets for this year.
Although its short notice, McIvor hopes she can raise the funds she needs to get to Aspen locally. On Monday, Jan. 27, Garfinkels has agreed to help her out by hosting a fundraiser during the Blue Quarter concert.
Tickets to the band are $5, and guests are asked to make a donation to her cause at the door. In addition there will be raffles and draw prizes contributed by local businesses. She is also still looking for a sponsor.
Once she reaches the X-Games, McIvors strongest competition will likely be Aleisha Cline, another Whistler skier who is dominating the international skier cross circuit.
"I dont know her at all because Ive been away at school, but it would have been good to meet her," said McIvor. "It would have been nice to train with her."
McIvor says her ski racing background helped her to be successful in skier cross events.
"They say to win in skier cross you have to be fastest out of the gates, but I have a bad shoulder so I have to pull ahead on the course, which makes it pretty exciting. Being an ex-racer I know to keep my skis on the ground, and I can completely carve a turn which helps me to gain speed," said McIvor.
Racing also helped her to become comfortable at high speeds, in all kinds of different conditions.
Competing at FIS and NorAm ski races at the age of 16 also taught her how to perform under pressure.
"I still love racing and I love the skier cross. I dont really get nervous. When Im up top in the gates, Im excited, I cant wait to ski down. For me its a fun event," said McIvor.
Once the X-Games have wrapped up, she will remain in Aspen for the U.S. Open skier cross the following weekend before coming home.
If you are a potential sponsor, or can help McIvor get to the X-Games, you can contact her on her cell phone at 604-902-2745.