Jean Tremblay, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Associations chief of competition for aerials, works on an aerials jump at Ski Wentworth Monday in preparation for the 2010 Junior National Freestyle Championships. Training is Wednesday while competition kicks off Thursday.
WENTWORTH - Christmas has finally come for workers at Ski Wentworth.
Well, not exactly. But the 2010 Junior National Freestyle Championships is the highlight of the season for the mountain and for good reason; it's the highest calibre event the ski resort has ever hosted.
"It's always been in the back of our minds," said Leslie Wilson, general manager of Ski Wentworth. "Our first priority was getting open and it's been a great season so far but this has always been in the back of our minds and we're really looking forward to it."
The event will see about 120 of the best 19 and under aerials, moguls, double moguls and slope-style skiers converge on the hill from across the country.
And if you think that because of their age these athletes can't put on a show, don't let yourself be fooled Wilson said.
"This is a stepping stone for them," she said. "Some of these athletes could be future Olympians."
After the junior level comes the senior level and chances to make national and Olympic squads.
There will also be a pair of Colchester athletes in the mix with the brother and sister tandem of Charles and Emma Stevens of Hilden. Charles will be competing in the slope-style and big air events while Emma will be on the slope-style, moguls and double moguls courses.
Officials started arriving Monday while workers were busy making final preparations to the competition venues. Athletes will start arriving today and will hit the slopes for training sessions Wednesday. Competition kicks off Thursday at 11 a.m. and runs until the medal presentations Sunday at 3 p.m.
Wilson said the excitement level at the mountain is the highest she's seen.
"After all the planning and preparation, to see everything come together is very exciting," she said. "It's starting to feel real now."
There is no admission to the event and Wilson encouraged spectators to come watch.
"We definitely encourage folks to come out and watch," she said. "There will be some very exciting competitions."
The venues can be reached by skiing or walking, however, skiers will be charged a lift ticket to hit the slopes.
The event is being held as a test event for the 2011 Canada Winter Games, with Wentworth hosting the ski events. Wilson said Canadian Freestyle Ski Association officials are impressed with the mountain, which received a $3.5 million facelift over the summer.
"I think they're impressed with what we have here and it's nice to hear that kind of feedback."