Castlegar alpine skier Heiko Ihns has returned from the BC Winter Games with several medals around his neck. The thirteen year old won gold and silver in slalom events and another silver in giant slalom over the weekend.
Ihns attends Stanley Humphries Secondary school and trains at Red Mountain about four days week. This was his first time at the winter games, but he has previously competed in the summer games in soccer. Ihns enjoyed the experience including travelling with the other Kootenay alpine skiers and coaches in a charter bus. Once there, the athletes slept in schools on gym mats in sleeping bags.
He also appreciated the chance to ski at a different competitive level.
“There were really good skiers there, so it was a tougher competition than just in the Kootenays,” said Ihns.
Inhs has experience placing well in regional events. He placed first in four giant slalom events in a race held at Red Mountain earlier this year before crashing in the slalom event. He quickly recovered from the accident and within three weeks was back to full scale training.
A luggage mishap led to a bit of a stressful time leading up to Ihns’ run on Sunday. Except for his skis and poles, all of his gear ended up with the regular luggage and was not at the hill. This resulted in a snowmobile ride up the mountain for his pre-run inspection of the course instead of the usual chair lift up, ski down method. About five minutes before his run, the gear showed up. The mishap didn’t seem to affect him too much as he had an excellent run that won him his gold medal.
Ihns was happy to have coaches that he was familiar with coaching him during the games.
“It helped a lot that two of my coaches from Red Mountain were there and I knew them a lot,” said Ihns. “I liked all three of my coaches, they were like the best ones I have had.”
Ihns plans to continue competitively skiing next year, and if he keeps up with the same type of results, we can expect to hear a lot more about him as he works his way up the ranks in junior skiing.