Thunder Bay Freestyle Ski Club
By Tiffany Jarva
This past January, six members of the Thunder Bay Freestyle Ski Club competed at the Ontario Timber Tour Horseshoe Resort in Barrie, Ontario—and after two days of Slopestyle events, all six athletes left with medals (some with two). Not bad for a club that was just re-established with a new head coach in the winter of 2022. Rewind a few years to 2018, when some local skiers started exploring the world of freestyle at Mount Baldy Ski Mountain. “It was fun to be hanging out with friends,” says Mason Flye, “and a big adrenaline boost to land a trick.” When the pandemic hit and the hills were shut down, Flye and other skiers created their own opportunities, obsessively hitting rails in front and back yards, and homemade jumps at places like Waverley Park. “We were all bored. We all wanted to ski so we made what rails and jumps we could,” explains Flye. “Before even joining the Thunder Bay club, I wanted to ski with my buddies, and I had a good group that I looked up to. I became super attached to freestyle, and it made me like skiing even more.” In the winter of 2022, Flye joined the Thunder Bay Freestyle Ski Club and under the tutelage of new head coach Cody Myshok, he won the Timber Tour Horseshoe Valley Under 16 Competition and received an invite to join the Ontario Team and Agenda Freeski LTD., which included training in Quebec and British Columbia. Flye secured a wildcard spot at the Junior Nationals, where he placed in the top half. Coach Myshok says Flye was a catalyst for recruiting more athletes interested in freestyle, explaining, “As a club, we were on the map once Mason became a part of the Ontario team.” The club has been building on that momentum ever since. This past summer, Myshok spent close to a month in Whistler, getting advanced training for coaching and inverted jump certification. The team also travelled to Momentum Ski Camp– a highperformance training camp on Horstman Glacier Blackcomb, followed by a trip to Quebec for water ramp, air bag, and trampoline training. “Our athletes have the drive and willingness to do anything,” explains Myshok. “They put their heart and soul into skiing. It’s all about having fun and learning as you go.” This past fall, the club also approached Giant Gymnastics and together they now offer a trampoline program for skiers. “Having a chance to do trampoline work locally has been super helpful,” says Myshok. “So many people in our community have been overwhelmingly supportive of what we’re doing.” Flye also competed in the Big Air Canada Cup in Sun Peaks, British Columbia, this past January, and placed 14th overall at the national level. “I’m a little nervous going into these competitions,” says Flye. “The coaches are really good though, helping us and encouraging us to get through tricks, and then we kind of push each other to get better.” To build the team, the Thunder Bay Freestyle Ski Club hopes to raise funds to purchase equipment like airbags and a trampoline for training, so that athletes can stay local instead of having to travel to other out of town places to improve their skills. For more information, visit thunderbayfreestyleskiclub.com.