Credit: Contributed

Credit: Contributed

Lake Country athlete sponsored by Big White

Ian Deans is reaching for the 2018 Olympics

Ian Deans grew up skiing on the hills of Big White.

Now, Big White is celebrating the road to the 2018 Winter Olympics by financially supporting the homegrown national team athlete.

Deans, 26, is a ski cross athlete on the National Team, he grew up in Lake Country and started skiing at Big White at the age of two.

He joins Kelsey Serwa and Tess Critchlow, other Big-White-sponsored athletes who grew up skiing and snowboarding on the mountain, on their search for success in Pyeongchang.

“We’re very happy to be supporting another Big White athlete on their road to the podium,” said Michael J. Ballingall, senior vice president at Big White Ski Resort. “I know the entire community of the central Okanagan joins us in supporting Ian, Kelsey and Tess.”

Deans originally started ski racing in fifth grade while living at Big White and attending the Big White Community School. He raced with the Big White Ski Racers until he graduated high school.

“While in college, a friend suggested I try a ski cross race at Big White,” Deans said. “I’d retired from alpine racing, but thought I’d try out the race. I came in third, figured it was fun – then raced the Nor-Am circuit the following year and won the overall title for that.”

From there, Deans earned a spot in the World Cup and was chosen for the Canada Alpine Ski Team. He’s earned multiple Nor-Am and Europe Cup podium results over the last two seasons and claimed eight Top 30 World Cup finishes over the 2015-16 season. His next goal is, of course, to qualify for the Olympics.

“It’s really fun to be involved in the same sport as other local athletes such as Kelsey and Ned Ireland,” Deans said. “We all grew up here in such a tight community and loved it. I know Big White so well that I could ski it with my eyes closed. The terrain is fun – you can play on the entire mountain. It’s my favourite place to ski in the world and I’ve skied a lot of places.”

Deans, who has a degree in kinesiology and plans to pursue his professional career in physical therapy in the future, is excited to continue his journey towards competing in Ski Cross at next year’s Olympic games.

“I love the adrenaline rush with ski cross – the fact that you put all this hard work into accomplishing on goal and when you execute it, it’s the best feeling in the world,” he said. “The satisfaction is second to none.”