Who needs mountains?
For many years, Yellowknife’s snowboarders have learned their trade on the slopes of the Bristol Pit.
The gravel pit serves as one of the territory’s best places to snowboard, thanks to volunteers who keep the course in good shape, maintain a handful of facilities at the pit, and hold events.
The 2015 territorial championships were held on Saturday, with the best snowboarders going on to form an NWT development team ahead of next year’s Arctic Winter Games.
See below for photos of top NWT snowboarders at the Bristol Pit
Steve Matthews is one of the volunteers working to make the Bristol Pit a better place to train.
Steve’s son, Andrew, is one of the NWT’s – and Canada’s – top snowboarders, competing on the international World Cup circuit.
Matthews has spent the past three years working on a project to install a lift, something he believes will help to transform the pit into the home of a stronger, more productive program for young snowboarders.
“It’s been a long project. You have to have engineered plans, build it to code and have it inspected. It just takes a long time,” Matthews told Moose FM.
“We’d hoped to have it in operation by Christmas last year. We spent a good three or four months working on this, trying to get it ready, and we came very close. We’re 99 percent there.”
By next year, Matthews hopes to have the lift – which is second-hand, from British Columbia – licensed and operational.
He believes that will spur the establishment of a full snowboarding program in Yellowknife.
“This has always been a tobogganing facility and snowboarding facility, without any real facilities to go along with it,” he said.
“That’s why we decided to build a lift – then we can build a snowboard program here and develop athletes for Arctic Winter Games and Canada Winter Games.
“You can get way more runs in, in a day, if you have a lift rather than if you have to walk up the hill all the time. Kids don’t mind walking but when you’re trying to develop athletes, it’s good to get as much exposure and practice on the hill as you can.
“Hopefully, we’ll build it and they will come.”
[flexiblemap address=”Bristol Pit, Yellowknife” title=”Bristol Pit” zoom=”13″]