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'I just wanted to go fast'

After more than a decade on the slopes, Cranbrook
After more than a decade on the slopes, Cranbrook's Rebecca Bermel is retiring from ski racing to pursue a degree in kinesiology.
— image credit: Reuters

Taylor Rocca

For as long as she can remember, Rebecca Bermel just wanted to go fast.

After more than a decade of cruising the slopes, the 20-year-old ski racer from Cranbrook is slowing things down as she retires from competitive ski racing.

Having started skiing at the tender young age of two, Bermel began racing when she was eight years old after her parents enrolled her in the Nancy Greene ski program at Kimberley Alpine Resort.

“I just wanted to go fast from there,” Bermel said. “Little did they know that putting me in that program would make me go so far.

“I’m going to miss the adrenaline and the speed, for sure…Carving the perfect turn, I can’t even explain the feeling.”

Bermel retires having won the 2008 B.C. K2 Provincial women’s slalom title and notes logging the fastest women’s super-G time in the super combined competition at the 2011 Canada Winter Games in Halifax as the greatest moment of her racing career.

While life on the ski hill might slow down for Bermel, it is about to pick up pace in other ways as she heads off to the University of Lethbridge (U of L) in pursuit of a kinesiology degree this fall.

“I’m excited for a new adventure,” Bermel said. “Everything is going to be completely different, completely new.

“I’ve wanted to [study] kinesiology since I was in eighth grade.”

Though her ski racing days are behind her, Bermel hasn’t lost her competitive edge. This summer she began training with James O’Kane and the East Kootenay Track & Field Club in hopes of making the jump to the U of L Pronghorns track program and Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) competition.

“It’s crazy that it’s happening. I’ve had so many memories and experiences [through my ski racing career],” Bermel said. “Thanks to everyone who helped me out and supported me, all the friends I met along the way. It’s been awesome.”

Speed continues to be the name of Bermel’s game as she transitions from the slopes to the track, specializing in 100- and 200-metre dash, and long jump.

Though she won’t be racing down slopes anymore, Rebecca Bermel still just wants to go fast.

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