MSS carves up the slopes at Northern Ontario alpine championships

Manitoulin Secondary School skiers, from left, Braydon Noble, Bronwyn Cooper and Colin Lloyd, pose with coaches Jeff Dickson and Frank Gurney following their triumphant first showing at the Northern Ontario Secondary School Athletics (NOSSA) championships in Sudbury.

SUDBURY—Manitoulin Secondary School is fresh off the slopes at a commendable Northern Ontario Secondary School Athletics (NOSSA) alpine ski championship finish at the Adanac Ski Hill.

The newly minted team, comprised of Colin Lloyd of Kagawong, Braydon Noble of Gore Bay and Bronwyn Cooper of Little Current, had only one practice run (compared to the Sudbury teams’ six) before carving up the slopes at the Northern Ontario races.

Coach Frank Gurney, brimming with pride, told The Expositor that the little team showed Sudbury what they were made of with excellent finishes for all three skiers in the slalom and giant slalom events.

Colin, a certified level 2 ski instructor who spends his weekends at Searchmont near Sault Ste. Marie, placed fifth in slalom and fourth in giant slalom (fifth overall), Bronwyn placed fifth in slalom and fourth in giant slalom (fourth overall) while Braydon, who is relatively new in the sport, came in 12th in slalom and ninth in giant slalom (11th overall). There was a total of 130 skiers taking part in the competition.

The rules for NOSSA alpine skiing are fierce, Mr. Gurney explained, noting that the athletes get only one race in each event, and if they fall or miss a gate, that’s it—they’re out.

Lockerby Composite School is the powerhouse in this event, the coach noted.

The coach thanked his assistant coaches, volunteers Chris Blodgett and Jeff Dickson.

Mr. Blodgett has a long background with ski racing and holds the title of lead race and events technician for both the Blue Mountain and Toronto Ski Club and has even worked on World Cup sanctioned events. He is also a certified instructor and Alpine Ontario race official. Coincidentally, he will also be running the crew for the Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations (OFSAA) skiing competition this month.

Mr. Dickson, a university friend of Mr. Gurney’s, is a medalist from the 1992 Paralympic Games where he took home the gold medal in slalom and the bronze in super G. He also won the slalom gold at the 2003 World Cup.

“A lot of kids have seen their success and are now interested,” Mr. Gurney said, thinking ahead to next year. “This was the first time any of them had run gates before.”

Manitoulin Secondary School had previously hosted an alpine ski team in the early 1990s during the time of the Honora Bay ski hill. It was coached by now retired secondary school teacher Bruce Laidley.

Alicia McCutcheon