Contributed Ned Ireland was awarded a nation ski cross award.

Ireland takes national ski award

Lake Country athlete wins up and coming award, chops lengthy hair for charity (includes video)

Lake Country ski cross athlete Ned Ireland is returning to the Okanagan after a successful rookie season on the Ski Cross World Cup tour.

And he’s bringing a high level Canadian award with him after attending Alpine Canada’s (ACA’s) 2017 Ski Racing Awards which recognize Canada’s top athletes in alpine, para-alpine and ski cross racing.

At the awards ceremony Ireland was presented with the Minogue Award of Excellence, given each year to one emerging ACA athlete who demonstrates excellence in all aspects of their athletic year.

“The ACA Awards are an important initiative for Canadian ski racing, giving recognition to the lifeblood of our sport. Athletes, volunteers, coaches and builders deserve to be acknowledged for their tireless dedication to ski racing,” said Mark Rubinstein, CEO and President of Alpine Canada.

The annual Minogue award is giving to a member of the alpine, para-alpine and ski cross teams who have three years or less of competition. Overall athletic performance must be outstanding and quantified by podium finishes and overall standings, and continued improvement of performance.

The award also takes into account dedication both on and off the snow as well as the athlete’s positive influence and contributions in their community. Ireland received the award from the Minogue family with whom he spent the day skiing with just prior to the awards ceremony.

“Thanks to Alpine Canada for the great weekend at Mt. Tremblant where I was able to meet the amazingly generous Minogue family who presented me with their family’s award. I feel very honoured and humbled to be receiving this award,” said Ireland.

Ireland capped off his rookie year by qualifying for the World Cup Finals held at Blue Mountain, Ontario and by doing a fundraiser for cancer at the awards ceremony. He had 12 inches of hair cut off raising over $1,400 and donating his hair to the Canadian Cancer Society to help create natural hair wigs for cancer patients.

Ireland has already started training for next year as the 1st camp is coming up at the end of April at Sunshine Village in Banff.