Winter Games

Girls fly high on the freestyle ski team

By Michelle Martin and Melanie Reader
Pasadena Academy
Pasadena, Newfoundland

Allison Eaton, Tauttuit
and Lisa Cullihall

Lisa Cullihall and Allison Eaton were excited when they were asked to try out for the Newfoundland Freestyle Skiing Team at Marble Mountain. When the two sixteen-year- olds succeeded in making the Canada Winter Games freestyle team, they were ecstatic.

These two girls who will be representing Newfoundland and Labrador are natives of Pasadena which is located on the West coast of the island.

Cullihall and Eaton have been skiing for several years on the beautiful slopes of Marble Mountain. This is a new sport for Marble and the girls are relatively new to their sport, but this hasn't stopped them from training hard and preparing for the chance of a lifetime.

Since September, the girls have been training along with many guys ages 12 - 19 for this competition. Before the snow came, they were doing "dryland" which included weight training, cross-country running, and indoor treadmill along with rockwall climbing and lateral jumps.

Once the snow arrived, the pair spent a great deal of time down at "The Hill" preparing. The moguls and aerials are all ready for the Newfoundland team and, of course, the members of other teams from across Canada.

Cullihall and Eaton are extremely excited and understandably nervous considering that the Canada Winter Games will be their first competition. The girls think that they're as ready as they're going to be, but as Eaton says, "You can always use more training!"

Lisa Cullihall, Tauttuit
and Allison Eaton

They are also experiencing the pressure of being the only two females on their team. Generally, the teams that will be competing will consist of 10 members: 4 females, 4 males, and 2 alternates. One would think that the girls would feel intimidated by the other five male members, but this is not the case. The guys have been nothing but encouraging, supportive, and full of jokes.

"If I find myself chickening out, they come along and give me an extra push," says Eaton, who considers the guys to be friendly and easy to get along with.

The girls believe that having only two females is not really a big thing but, rather, an advantage.

"There could only be two other girls anyway. With only the two of us, instead of comparing ourselves to two other girls, we now try to meet the standards set for the guys and this in turn will make us better skiers," adds Cullihall.

The approach of the games has caused mixed emotions within the girls. They are experiencing pressure but a pressure which gives them motivation. The anticipation has certainly heightened since their training has begun. While the pressure is "nerve- wracking" at times, it adds to the atmosphere of the games. And, of course, as all athletes do, they are experiencing a tremendous amount of excitement.

After the games conclude, the girls hope to gain a number of things.

"I think it will be a great experience." says Cullihall. "This will be my first competition and I don't think there's any better way to start than competing with the best from across Canada".

Along with many other competitors, Cullihall and Eaton have a goal for the games: "We just want to make it down the mountain in one piece!"

Overall, the girls have thoroughly enjoyed preparing for the games. They have discovered a passion for the sport, and now believe "there is nothing better than the feeling of having your legs ready to fall off at the end of a mogul run and the sensation of being high enough in the air that your heart nearly stops!"