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Athletes Head to Paralympics With Support From South Vancouver Local Charity

BC Adaptive Snowsports help provide programming and equipment for athletes

Alex Cairns race training in Whistler, B.C. Submitted Photo by Sebastien Labrie.
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Reported by Cloe Logan

This year, three athletes who got their professional start with a South Vancouver adaptive sports charity are going to the Paralympic Games in South Korea.

Skiers Mel Pemble, Braydon Luscombe and Alex Cairns are competing in PyeongChang starting Mar. 9. BC Adaptive Snowsports supplied training and equipment to help them on their way to the games.

Alex Cairns on the DOA run on Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, B.C. Photo Submitted by Jimmy Martinello
Sit-ski athlete to compete for first time

Alex Cairns, 26, said BC Adaptive Snowsports has been essential to his athletic journey, helping him with equipment and race opportunities.

“BC Adaptive has been there for pretty much all of my time as a skier,” said Cairns, who joined the BC Para-alpine Ski Team in 2011 and the Canadian national team in 2016.

“After my first sit-ski, the BC Adaptive program helped me get a better [one], this opened up a lot of doors for me to progress with a rig,” Cairns said.

Cairns races on a mono sit-ski, which has one ski. The athlete controls the rig, compared to a bi-ski which has two skis, and often has someone else controlling the rig from handles at the back.

 Reliable support system

BridgePoint Financial Services has sponsored BC Adaptive Snowsports for the past four years, donating to their Black Diamond Gala which raises funds for ski and snowboard programs.

Co-founder Stephan Pauwels said the charity provides inclusive and accommodating winter sport programming for people with physical or cognitive disabilities.

“BridgePoint Financial Services is proud to sponsor their efforts,” Pauwels said.

Fannie Smith, athletic and communications manager at BC Adaptive Snowsports,  said she is overjoyed that she will get to witness the athlete’s first Paralympic Games in person as a support volunteer for Team Canada in PyeongChang.

“I feel like a proud parent. Alex and Mel have basically grown up in our programs and [have] become not only great athletes but amazing role models and inspirations for the next generation,” Smith said.

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