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Bragg Creek skier Rebecca Pelkey to race at 2023 Canada Winter Games

Keeping her aspirations modest, the Bragg Creek ski racer said she is hoping for a top-five or maybe even a podium placement at the upcoming games.
Rebecca Pelkey skiing the Giant Slalom at Mt. Norquay.

Rebecca Pelkey’s feet are planted firmly on the ground as far as not looking too far into the future is concerned, even as the 15-year-old Bragg Creek alpine skier takes off for Canada’s east coast to represent Team Alberta at the 2023 Canada Winter Games next week.

Pelkey punched her ticket for the Alberta team at a competition in Panorama B.C. in early January, where she qualified in all three events she entered – Slalom, Giant Slalom and Super G.

In a non-qualifying speed camp in mid-February at Lake Louise, Pelkey took firsts in the U16 Giant Slalom and Super G.

At the U16 nationals at Mt. Tremblant in Quebec last year, Pelkey won silver in Slalom.

The Bragg Creek teen likes the speed. But it’s the competition aspect of ski racing that drives her to commit to long hours of cross-training and hitting the slopes every day she can at Nakiska. Her mother Sandra drives her there from Monday to Friday every week.

Progressing to the next level at the Canada Winter Games, which are being held in Prince Edward Island and New Brunswick from Feb. 18 to March 5, is next on the agenda.

“I’m so excited to go – I can’t wait to meet everyone there,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where I stand against everyone in Canada.”

Held every four years, the Canada Winter Games are a multi-sport extravaganza that features Canada's top junior (U20) aged athletes across a variety of sports. The event is akin to a national Olympic Games and seeks to replicate that atmosphere, with an opening and closing ceremonies. 

Pelkey started skiing at four or five years old, and wasn’t too excited about the cold at first. But she loves the competition, enough to put her distaste for cold temperatures behind her.

Keeping her aspirations modest, she said she is hoping for a top-five finish or maybe even a podium placement at the games.

While she was reluctant to talk about any specific long-term goals, Pelkey did say if things go well, a skiing scholarship to an American university after she’s done high school would be nice.

She said she gets inspiration from her older sister Megan, who earned three medals — resulting in her claiming the girls' overall title – at the IWWF World Under-17 Water Ski Championships in Santiago, Chile in January.

Pelkey’s father Bob is looking forward to travelling to the Maritimes to cheer his daughter on next week.

“It’s sort of like the Olympics, kind of cool,” he said.

Though most of the Games’ events are being held in P.E.I., the alpine events are taking place at Crabbe Mountain, N.B., from Feb. 28 to March 5.

Including Pelkey, six of the seven female members of the Alberta team belong to the Calgary Alpine Racing Club. Seven females and seven males comprise the Alberta team.

Seven females and one male comprise the Pelkey team – Bob’s wife Sandra, their four daughters, a female dog, and a female guinea pig. The patriarch of the family joked he sometimes feels outnumbered.

But those odds are about to change. On the day of the interview with The Eagle, Sandra and the other three girls were on their way to pick up Mango, a four-month-old male golden retriever, from a rescue shelter.

Bob said he wasn’t on board with getting a new puppy at first, but he laughs about it now.

“Yes, more busy. I got overruled,” he said with a laugh.

Howard May

About the Author: Howard May

Howard was a journalist with the Calgary Herald and with the Abbotsford Times in BC, where he won a BC/Yukon Community Newspaper Association award for best outdoor writing.
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