Tess Critchlow made her Olympic debut in Pyeongchang in South Korea in 2018, finishing ninth as the top Canadian in women’s snowboard cross. (Contributed)

Tess Critchlow: Local snowboarder represents Big White on the national stage

She competed in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang in South Korea in 2018

Editor’s note: In 2020 it should be no surprise that more and more woman hold positions of power. Whether it’s business, politics, sports or the non-profit sector, woman continue to achieve new milestones. This story is part of a series of stories highlighting 16 women in Kelowna who are leaders in their fields. You can pick up a physical copy of Women in Business in the Feb. 28 issue of Kelowna Capital News.

Editor’s note: In 2020 it should be no surprise that more and more woman hold positions of power. Whether it’s business, politics, sports or the non-profit sector, woman continue to achieve new milestones. This story is part of a series of stories highlighting 16 women in Kelowna who are leaders in their fields. You can read all of their stories in our annual publication called Women in Business in the Feb. 28 issue of Kelowna Capital News.

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Those who hit the slopes at Big White Ski Resort, Tess Critchlow is likely a familiar face.

Since 2001, the Kelowna native has entered nearly every snowboard competition held at a local ski resort, including competing with the Canadian national team at the Barrels and Berms world cup boarder cross event in January.

But, the biggest competition the Kelowna native has ever attended is the Winter Olympics.

She made her debut in Pyeongchang in South Korea in 2018, finishing ninth as the top Canadian in women’s boarder cross.

Having competed at the highest professional level, Critchlow said she has learned how to handle the expectations and immense pressures of competing under the spotlight.

“The Olympics is the biggest event I’ve competed in and learning how to manage the feeling that all eyes are on you is something I bring to Big White,” said Critchlow.

Being able to compete at her home resort has paid dividends for the young snowboarder, after she won back-back junior national titles at the mountain in 2013 and 2014.

Through the 2016-17 season, Critchlow earned four top-10 finishes at the World Cup, highlighted by sixth-place finishes in Feldberg, Germany, in January 2016 and Bansko, Bulgaria, in February 2017.

She also won the national title in 2016.

While Critchlow uses the familiarity of Big White to her advantage, she knows there’s a lot more to winning than just having the home hill advantage.

“Go fast and keep your base down, that’s what my parents used to say,” chuckled Critchlow, referring to the bottom of her snowboard.

“Generally, you need to make sure you’re pushing forward through every move, minimize your air time and keep your base as flat as possible.

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