Being the first skier down the hill at OFSAA has its disadvantages.
Even if you’re patient, you still have to struggle through the anguish of watching each and every one of your opponents ski down after you. Thankfully, Danielle McBean is patient. She’s also not bad on the skis, posting times of 46.21, 49.45 in the giant slalom and 42.17 in the slalom.
Although the Grade 11 student finished fourth in both races at OFSAA, her times, combined with all those of her teammates earned Leaside’s ski team won the team gold in the GS and bronze in the slalom.
“I was actually the first bib down, so that was really stressful,” she said, her medals jangling around her neck in a Leaside High School classroom. “Once I saw my time, I had to wait and see everyone else come down.”
It was a fulfilling end to a bizarre OFSAA. It was held at Osler Bluff Ski Club in the Blue Mountains of Ontario, but inclement weather caused the closure of the hill on Feb. 25.
Coaches Alf Scharlach and Carolyn Singer said the girls, along with the top open racer Faith Bawden and adopted teammate Emma Stevenson of Malvern Collegiate, had a free day.
“Up there it was so windy that they closed Highway 26 and Highway 6,” Singer said in a phone interview a few days earlier.
Regardless of any delays, the team, featuring McBean, as well as Mackayla Dixon, Carmel Mark, Katarina Scharlach and Kaitlyn Zaraska. Dixon finished 64th in the slalom and 37th in the GS. She fell during the race but managed to pull herself back up and finish.
“It was just really icy and I had never done slalom, so I got scared. I fell, but I got back up…,” the Grade 10 student said.
“… And finished the race,” Zaraska finished.
Mark ended OFSAA with a 16th placing in the GS and 26th in the slalom; Scharlach was 44th and 40th and Zaraska, in her final year, earned a 17th placing in the GS and 31st in the slalom.
“Since it’s my last year, I really wanted to make it to OFSAA, so I made sure I didn’t fall for one thing. Our team ended up doing really well,” she said. “We were sure to cheer each other on. To hype up we had to really scream.”
With that said, Dixon, Mark, McBean and Scharlach will be returning for next season.