Special Olympics Making Strides in Bow Valley

Special Olympics Alberta-Bow Valley cross country skiiers
Special Olympics Alberta-Bow Valley cross country skiers: Brock Jesse, Elouise Stewart and Shane Stewart training in the trails of Canmore Nordic Centre.

Bow Valley is not new to producing world class Special Olympics athletes, but 2018 marked the first time the community has taken on running its own community program.

“The idea of having a Special Olympics local community program in Bow Valley started with a core of athletes in the Calgary program that did training with both Special Olympics and other sport programs with the Canmore Nordic Centre. We decided we wanted to create one for Bow Valley,” said Shawn Jesse, cross country head coach and Bow Valley club contact.

As a Special Olympics coach for seven years with the Calgary program, Jesse has been hands on and guiding local cross country skiers training at the Canmore Nordic Centre which includes four cross country skiers and his son Brock.

“We want the program to cater to Bow Valley athletes who are skiing at one of the greatest training facilities in the world,” said Jesse.

“We saw a potential to create programs in both winter and summer.”

Bow Valley officially launched their program on January 6 which currently offers cross country skiing for five athletes which runs every Saturday morning at the Canmore Nordic Centre Provincial Park. With five volunteers taking an active role in the program’s success, Jesse  has high hopes for the expansion of the program. In just the last couple months, he has seen a lot interest from the community who have beeen  receptive to “having a big program for Bow Valley residents.”

“We’re really hoping we’re recognized within the community as a great place for our target group of athletes to come and get involved. We have a mix of ultra-competitive and others who want to learn to ski.”

For more information or interest in being part of the Bow Valley program, check out their community page.