New riders, soon to be champions.
Darcy Macdonald | Director of Business Operations
“In 10 years, we’ll have a Canada Games athlete from Ben Eoin.”
These are the words of Darcy Macdonald, Director of Business Operations at Ski Ben Eoin, and a huge believer in the future potential of snowboarders from Cape Breton.
Ski Ben Eoin opened in 1968 with the goal to bring winter recreation to the Cape Breton region. The facility now operates as a not-for profit, offering its snowy slopes between the months of late December – March. Riders from the region come to Ben Eoin for the sunshine, fresh air and beautiful view of the Bras D’or Lakes.
With funding from Support4Sport, Ben Eoin now offers five new features at the snow park to increase the interest and participation of young riders. 5 types of rails were added: a whale tail, junior tube, a flat-down, and two grom features – a trapezoid and a rainbow. Before the features were added, not many young snowboarders could learn, progress and grow with the sport at Ben Eoin.
The support of an active parent group at Snowboarding Nova Scotia, helped to organize and put the features in place. “It’s not just the athletes that participate, it also brings their families out,” says MacDonald. As a not-for-profit, funding for the park infrastructure is key to train up new snowboarders. The number of snowboarders at Snowboard Nova Scotia events held at Ben Eoin has increased nearly three-fold.
With these entry-level features, Ben Eoin plans to encourage a new crop of riders, and deepen the experience and competition in freestyle snowboarding throughout the region. “We have a great culture, says MacDonald. “We are growing the sport and doing everything we can as the growth happens.”
Kristin d’Eon | Excellence Coach, Snowboard Nova Scotia
Back to sport and back to community.
“After being an athlete, you only have a few paths to go, back to school or you go back to your sport.”
This was the reality for Kristin d’Eon, who started snowboarding at the early age five. At age thirteen he joined the provincial team as an alpine snowboarder. At age 18, Kristin left Nova Scotia for Colorado, where he began training for Canada’s National team, and he joined the junior development team for two years.
Snowboarding was everything that Kristin knew, so when he decided to come back to his home province after training as an athlete, he joined the board of directors for Snowboard Nova Scotia. He had served in that role for two years when an opportunity for a Technical Director position opened with Snowboard NS. Kristin put in the work and landed the job, which has now been elevated to the title of Excellence Coach.
“Having the funding from Support4Sport to go back to the sport, to be able to give back right away and to be able to jump right back into the sport that I love was amazing,” explains Kristin. “It’s given me the opportunity to work without having any other barriers. It covers my livelihood, and I can just focus on the athletes the entire time.”
Kristin sees a growing snowboarding community in Nova Scotia and is actively involved with the Snowboard NS parent group, looking to train up new riders who will follow Olympic-grade snowboarders from the province such as Trevor Andrews, Sarah Conrad, Alex Duckworth and Liam Moffatt..
He’s noticed that more families than ever are filling up the slopes since the COVID-19 pandemic. He believes “the freedom of snowboarding” and the mountain fresh air can melt away any frustration. “Sport is what connects local communities together, without sport they are looking for something.”