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Kimberley-born skier Annika Cooper fares well in Sweden mogul comp

Cooper is first Kootenay female to make BC Freestyle’s BC Mogul Team
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Annika Cooper, who grew up skiing with the Kimberley Alpine Team, is the first Kootenay female to earn a spot on the BC Freestyle Mogul Team, with whom she recently competed in Sweden. Photo submitted.

Annika Cooper, who grew up skiing in Kimberley, competed at the FIS Open Mogul Competition in Sweden last weekend and fared well, making the finals and ultimately earning fourteenth place overall in Saturday’s event.

Cooper was selected to BC Freestyle’s Mogul Team this past spring, making her the first female from the Kootenay region to earn a spot on this high-performance team that competes both nationally and internationally.

The team trained for two weeks in Sweden ahead of the FIS Open Mogul event, which saw 74 athletes from 10 countries, including several Olympic medalists, compete.

Cooper, now a grade 12 student, has been skiing her entire life, since she was around two or three.She discovered her love of skiing moguls with the Kimberley Alpine Team (KAT) at Kimberley Alpine Resort (KAR).

“I immediately fell in love with it, and it has always been something that I felt was a part of me,” Cooper said. “It was never going to be something I wasn’t interested in or didn’t want to do.

She added that because she grew up skiing bumps at KAR, moguls were a natural fit and she found a sport in which she quickly excelled. She started skiing with KAT at 10 and said she was always most focused on skiing bumps and moguls.

If you are unfamiliar with what exactly the sport of mogul skiing consists of, Cooper described it as follows:

“Mogul skiing is when you ski a line of bumps on a steep mogul course and perform aerial maneuvers, such as backflips, while trying to ski as fast as you can. I train all winter on snow and then spend my summers training on trampoline and on water ramps where we learn to perfect our tricks on snow.”

After a few years with KAT, she made the decision to make a switch and started training with Freestyle Panorama, which offered more resources and a stronger mogul program. She skied with them for the past three seasons, before she accepted a spot on the provincial team this past spring.

READ MORE: Kimberley Alpine Team opens season with plenty of success, medals

Cooper said the move to the provincial team has been an “incredible opportunity,” albeit a huge commitment, especially as she is also balancing her grade 12 studies and having to manage keeping up with school alongside being on the road frequently to train and compete.

“Although it is a lot of hard work, it has been amazing so far,” she said. “Being able to represent BC as the first female from the Kootenays, and as the only girl on the team that is a BC resident, is a very big honor. I am so excited for what’s to come this season.”

She said her experience in Sweden was amazing.

“To have the opportunity to travel internationally for training and a competition with my team was incredible and it was so fun,” she said. “Being in a completely new setting, competing and training with completely new people was also awesome and I’m so grateful for everyone who helped get me there.”

It began with two weeks of training and Cooper said the course there was very challenging at first as it was steep and very icy, but her performance improved exponentially the more she got used to it.

“On the first competition day I was placed 16th after the qualifying run, just making finals, and then finished 14th overall. It was so exciting to ski at this level and ski with athletes from countries around the world. It was quite exciting to make finals at this level.”

Looking ahead, Cooper will head to Apex Mountain Resort near Penticton to begin training for the Canadian Selections competition, in which athletes vie for a spot on the NorAm Circuit, where Cooper intends to compete on across Canada and the U.S.