Thompson Rivers University

Tourism launches big air event

January 12, 2017

Myles Williamson had a grand vision—transform the Campus Commons into the scene of a big air ski and snowboard event that would attract riders and spectators from across the region onto campus. Last September, his vision started to become a reality when he enrolled in a tourism event management class.

Williamson, a 4th-year Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies student, is no stranger to the slopes. He is president of Out Here TRU Ski & Snowboard Club and has spent the last few winters working as a terrain park supervisor at Cypress Mountain and a freestyle ski instructor at Sun Peaks Resort.

“I kept walking past the hills in front of HOL and thought it would make an awesome location for a big air event,” said Williamson. “I put together an event proposal and submitted it to Billy Collins, an instructor in the Tourism Management program. In the fall, I took Billy’s event class and we started working on the logistics of how to make something like this happen.”

From there, Campus in Flight, Ski and Snowboard Big Air Invitational was born. Freestyle riders from across BC will come to TRU to showcase their big air skills on a jump built in the centre of campus.

“Big air” is a sports discipline where competitors ride a vehicle (snowboard, skateboard, or skis) off large jumps and perform tricks. It’s an extreme version of slope style. For the invitational, riders will pull into a flatland, 45-foot jump with a high-speed winch—the first event of its kind to be done on a university campus and on flat land.

“When Myles came to me with the proposal, I thought it was a bold idea. He is a really self-driven, energetic and personable student and I thought, this is a guy I can work with to help him realize his vision,” said Collins. “We’ve been working on this project since the first week of September, jumped through all the hurdles, and now we are a week away from seeing it all come together.”

It’s taken a while to get this project off the ground, one reason being that an event of this calibre entails coordinating many logistics, such as a rigorous risk management and liability assessment and adequate insurance.

“The university has been extremely supportive in allowing us to make this event happen—including our Risk Management Department, the Ancilliary Services Department and even our Facilities Department, who have been storing snow and will be out with their bobcats to help build the jump,” said Williamson.

The event gets underway on Friday, January 20th, at 5:00 p.m. and is hosted by the Tourism Management Department in partnership with Out Here TRU Ski & Snowboard Club.

More information:
Billy Collins
Tourism Management Department

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