Skiing is all in the family for Mission’s Emi Bryan.
Her father Steve Bryan got her on the slopes at the tender age of three, and the feeling of hitting powder was like nothing else she’d ever experienced.
“I had the freedom to go really fast and do whatever I wanted to do,” she said, of her days learning the sport in Whistler.
Growing up, she saw her two older brothers excel on the Mission Secondary School ski team, and she continued carving away, beginning competitive racing at seven years old. Emi joined the Hemlock Ski Team, and has continued to develop into a strong skier.
Her biggest highlight occurred earlier this year, when she placed 29th out of 49 skiers in a U14 Coast Zone race in Whistler in January. Given the majority of the racers were one year older than Emi with a lot more racing experience, this was a great result for her. It marked the first U14 race for Emi, and she said she was thrilled to be tagged to compete at the 2016 BC Winter Games.
“I was just so excited,” she said.
Emi said her goal for the Games is to do her best to win it all. She added that she’s familiar with the course at Apex, and is feeling confident heading into the races this weekend. She said a lot of her strength comes from the tight bond she’s formed with her friends on the Hemlock Ski Team, where she trains several times a week.
“They’re like a family to me,” she said. “I can trust them with anything, and we’re always pushing each other to do better.”
The 12-year-old is in Grade 7 at Hatzic Middle School, and plans on attending Mission Secondary School to follow in her brother’s footsteps on the ski team.
Also hitting the slopes, is Mission native and Manning Ski Club member Aiden Rebele.
His dad introduced him to the slopes, and the rest is history.
“My dad used to take me skiing when I was really young and I really liked it,” he said. “I like going really fast and just being outdoors and in the mountains.”
Rebele initially joined the Hemlock Ski Team, but more recently joined the Manning club. He qualified for the Games with a strong showing in Whistler earlier this year.
“My coach, Kelly Blair, called me and told me and I was really happy,” he said.
The 12-year-old is a Grade 7 student at Abbotsford’s MEI. He said it’s going to be an honour to compete for the Fraser Valley zone team.
“I’m just going to do my best and try to get a new best time,” he said.
Rebele and Emi are two of several Mission athletes competing at the Games. Also heading to Penticton are:
- Benjamin Seeley, archery
- Charles Cheung, diving
- Seth Floyd and Shuntaro Izumi, judo
- Shivani Bahadur, Jared Bolland, Janie Green and Annabelle Green, speed skating
Mission is also sending a number of official and coaches to the Games, including: Darcy Falk (archery), Glen Ford (judo), Layton Keely (judo), Julian Green (speed skating), Kristina Kreick (speed skating) and Dave McQuaid (speed skating).
The Penticton 2016 BC Winter Games run from Feb. 25 to 28. Read next week’s edition of the Mission City Record for details on how the athletes fare.