School of hard knocks

Fort Liard snowboarder snags two medals after early-week crash

Alinda Edda shows off her two medals – bronze in the banked slalom and silver in the half pipe.

Alinda Edda, 15, didn't let a trip to the hospital on Monday stop her from making her community proud this week. During the slope style event, the snowboarder took a bad spill and was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

The incident didn't seem to faze her and she was back on the hill Wednesday for the banked slalom event, earning the snowboarding team its first ulu – a bronze. Edda added a silver to her precious-metal haul after the half pipe event on Thursday.

Although this is her first time competing at the Arctic Winter Games, Edda said her double-medal performance didn't come as a surprise and she had planned to bring at least one home to Fort Liard.

“I just want my community to be really proud, and I know they are,” she said. “I just wanted to show them what I can do.”

Edda has been snowboarding for about four years and she said it's something she plans to stick with.

“I just wanted to try it out and I did and I liked it a lot,” Edda said.

Still beaming from her silver finish, Edda said she couldn't pin down only one highlight of being in Whitehorse.

“I would say everything,” she said. “Being with a bunch of different snowboarders and hanging out at the school and meeting new friends and stuff.”

She is also excited to be able to watch the other boarders compete and learn from them.

“They're pretty awesome and I am glad that they participate and they are all doing really good,” she said. “I am really proud.”

Edda's was one of two medals won by the team in the half pipe. Sadele Elijah Paulette of Fort Smith won the snowboarding team's second bronze medal in the junior male division.

Coach Justin Mager, from Yellowknife, has been coaching the team for a couple of months and said he is impressed with its performance considering the NWT is not known for its snowboarding facilities – in Yellowknife the team trains in a gravel pit.

“It's a little difficult (to train) we don't have the facilities that some of the other contingents do,” he said. “We just come down here and do our best and just work really hard to get results.”

On Wednesday, Mager said he was “blown away” by how well the team had been doing up to that point.

“We have pretty talented athletes here and a few of our athletes are pretty new to the competitive snowboarding side but I can't even say how proud we are of how well they have been doing,” he said. “They are just working really hard and putting their heart and soul into everything.”

Edda is a good example of how heart can sometimes be worth more than experience.

“This was probably her seventh time in the half pipe … and they were all today,” he said. “This is something brand new for her and she just went out there and got results.”

Mager said the goal for Friday is to continue working hard.

“If we get more medals, we get more medals,” he said. “If we don't, we're super proud of everything they've done so far.”