A Rossland couple has their sights set on a successful and active winter, and invite residents of Greater Trail to get involved in fulfilling their Golden City dreams.
Ian and Natasha Lockey are committed to taking their sports interests to a new level.
Ian, a standing paraplegic, starts training with the Canadian Paralympic snowboard team next month looking to secure a spot for the Games in Sochi, Russia in 2014, while Natasha is the diabolical mastermind behind BettyGoHard, whose purpose is to get women (and now men) out of the house and into the outdoors.
Both pursuits complement each other well, with Ian assisting Natasha when he can, and vice versa. But while Ian has ramped up his training regimen to prepare for an intense season of World Cup races, Natasha is promoting a kinder-gentler BettyGoHard that offers a variety of activities that cater to the lower intensity recreationist as well as the keener crew.
Betty activities this winter range from the ever-popular beginner ladies snowshoe adventure starting Sunday, to snowshoe and chocolate escapes, a cross-country skiing series, and co-ed snowshoe and cross-country ski adventures.
Natasha’s primary goal is to get residents active. However, it has evolved into a much more social program, where residents let go of their inhibitions, build confidence and friendships, while enjoying the natural beauty of the West Kootenay.
“It’s really about taking time for yourself,” said Natasha. “Focus on the sport while you’re doing it… and afterwards you can get to know those people, so not only are you taking time out to do an activity, but you’re taking three hours for yourself, and part of it is the wind down so you’re not just getting off the bike or trail and running home.”
Ian has been focused on training hard with Get Focus gym in Rossland, and will head to the Canadian Team’s Paralympic snowboard training camp in Whistler in early January.
He will follow that up with World Cup races in South Tahoe, Calif. and Copper Mountain, Co. before heading to Sochi, Russia for a pre-Olympic camp in February. He’ll follow that with a race in Slovenia before returning to North America for the speed nationals at Big White and the World Cup at Copper Mountain in April.
The youthful 39-year-old must finish in the top 32 in the world to make the Canadian Paralympic Team, and for Ian to be successful this year it is vital he remain healthy.
He missed most of 2011 after a spectacular crash at the X-Games dislocated his shoulder, while a broken ankle and a torn ACL have also hampered his progress in the past five years.
Despite injuries, Ian has competed in half a dozen world cup competitions in the last two seasons and finished strong in all of them.
“Out of my six World Cups, I’ve only finished off the podium once, (so I have) big expectations, but obviously I don’t want to put too much pressure on myself – I want to survive as well,” he added.
One of the biggest challenges the native New Zealander faces, however, is not on the slopes, but rather financing his dream of competing at the 2014 Paralympic Games.
“It’s an expensive game,” says Ian.
“There is funding, but only a very little amount of funding . . . all of our travel expenses, race entries are our own (costs).”
To cushion the blow to their personal finances, the Lockey’s have began fundraising through BettyGoHard and are taking online donations at gofundme.com/goian.
Ian will compete in a single-person, also known as “sling shot,” snowboardcross event. The sling-shot format consists of a best-of-two or-three time trial runs on the same course as able-body snowboard-cross events with some modifications.
This year consistency and staying healthy on the World Cup circuit is imperative for Ian.
“I don’t care if I finish middle of the pack, but get stronger more confident and better, as long as I qualify,” said Lockey. “I can put it all on the line (in Sochi).”