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Squamish youth enters contest for new ski lift to the Whistler Mountain Ski Club training centre

Voting is open until March 8 to support the Mackenzie Top Peak contest entry.

Eleven-year-old Olivier Courcelles is very passionate about skiing and wants more of a chance to do it. 

The Squamish resident has entered the national Mackenzie Top Peak contest, put on by Mackenzie Investments, to try to win $100,000 for Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC), which would go toward a T-bar ski lift at their training centre. 

The stated goal of the contest is for the mountain communities across Canada to show how invested they are in their snow sports.

At the end of the ski season, a panel of judges will award Canada’s Top Peak $100,000 to invest in their chosen cause.

Courcelles — who recently won the Janyk Cup ski race — is in his second year of U12. 

Skiers with WMSC don't get to skip lines, as ski school students do, so they are usually dealing with very long lineups that reduce the amount of training they can get in a day. 

The WMSC athletes sometimes only get a few runs a day because of the big lineups.

"Garbanzo has always been really, really busy," Courcelles said, adding that in other places, young athletes can train a lot more.

"The smaller mountains get more laps because they don't have as many people."

A separate lift for them would be of great benefit to the youth in the club but also to the public, as the club would use the Garbanzo chair way less, Courcelles’s mom Jenny Horlin said.

Race days bring a lot of extra people to the Garbanzo lineup, with hundreds of kids, parents and volunteers trying to get up the lift.

This issue is not new, Courcelles said; it just needs a solution.

"Everyone has been talking about the surface lift for a long time," he said.

For the Mackenzie Top Peak campaigns that make the Top 10 in terms of votes, they then move on to another set of voting to make the Top 3.

Once the Top 3 are selected, a panel of judges will select the winner.

The winner of Mackenzie Top Peak will be announced live on CBC on April 1.

Courcelles is really hoping the Whistler campaign goes far. 

He just loves being able to ski, he said. 

"I just love hanging out with my friends on the ski hill, and just skiing, in general, is awesome," he said. 

People can vote for the Top 10 choices once a day until March 8. Voting is straightforward. It just requires your name and email address.

Folks can cast a vote every 24 hours. 

The link to vote is


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