Quebec skier receives 2019 Spirit of Sarah scholarship | Squamish Chief

Quebec skier receives 2019 Spirit of Sarah scholarship

Winner embodies qualities of Squamish skiing legend, Sarah Burke, says judge

Seven years after her death, Squamish's Sarah Burke continues to impact the next generation of skiers.

The Spirit of Sarah scholarship has been awarded to 14-year-old Naomi Urness from Mont-Tremblanc, Quebec.

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The winner was announced on June 5.

Each year the award is given to a young female skier who encapsulates certain special characteristics that Burke was renowned for including modesty, kindness, determination and a positive approach to life, as well as a drive to excel in skiing.

“It’s always hard to pick a winner each year as there are so many worthy applicants, but we feel that Naomi really embodies a lot of the characteristics of Sarah when she was a young camper herself," said one of the judges, John Smart in a news release about the award.

A pioneer of the superpipe event, Burke died as a result of a fall during a practice run on January 19, 2012, in Salt Lake City, Utah.

"It's really special to keep Sarah’s memory alive and know that her legacy of encouraging young girls to excel in sport, overcoming setbacks and striving for excellence, lives on even now, seven years after she passed away,” Smart added.

The scholarship is the result of a partnership between Whistler's Momentum Camps and the Sarah Burke Foundation.

A ski legend, Burke was dedicated to encouraging more girls to participate in freeskiing, among other sports.

"This scholarship aims to preserve Sarah’s legacy by helping a dedicated young girl to progress her skiing skills at Momentum Camps."

Urness is the first Quebecois applicant to be awarded the scholarship since it was launched in 2012. “I really want to push myself, try new things with the girls, have fun with others and do the best that I can do,” Urness said in the news release.

In her video entry for the scholarship, Urness said: “[when] I’m skiing I’m nervous and kinda scared, but I really want to achieve it.

The scholarship, valued at $3,000, includes a free eight-day Summer Session at Momentum Camps during ‘Girls Week.' Urness will be coached by her female skiing idols including Olympic Gold Medallist Cassie Sharpe, World Cup winner Elena Gaskell and World Champion and multiple X-Games medallist Anna Segal.

For more information about Momentum Camps and the Spirit of Sarah scholarship, contact or go to

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