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Ride With The Girls – “Elleboard” Builds Community for Female Snowboarders in Alberta


4 minute read

Photo Credit: Canada Snowboard Photo Gallery 

Craft Beer Connoisseur and snowboarding enthusiast Sheena Keay pushes boundaries in snowboarding excellence through workshops and high performance coaching. An avid snowboarder for more than 20 years, Sheena’s passion for the sport began early and has continued to grow with every season. So, when it came to assuming a leadership role for the Alberta division of Snowboard Canada’s female rider program, she couldn’t say yes fast enough.

In response to a lack of existing resources and support for female snowboarders, Elleboard is a program launched by Canada Snowboard designed to encourage female athletes to grow and develop as riders, coaches, judges and officials. A short-term goal of the program is to have female membership with Canada Snowboard rise above 30% in the coming years. By creating a network for girls of all ages who want to feel more confident and connected on the slopes, Elleboard intends to bridge the gender gap on the hill and increase female participation in the sport.  

“The idea behind Elleboard is to build a community for females that want to continue to snowboard,” says Keay, Elleboard leadership for Alberta, “The average girl quits a sport between the ages of 12 and 14, and we want to change that.” According to the Women’s Sports Foundation, by the age of 14, girls are dropping out of sports at double the rate of boys their age. There are a number of key factors driving this statistic, including lack of positive role models and decreased quality of experience as they grow (1). 

Elleboard is a provincial program that connects girls with other girls who want to keep riding, continue progressing, and eventually compete. The program has trained with girls between the ages of 8 and 34 to help them take the next step in their snowboarding careers, whether that be learning the basics or hitting the half-pipe. 

With a variety of available training opportunities, girls can participate in Learn to Train days, with a focus on long-term athlete development, or sign up for the Ride Days program, a nationwide all-female tour led by top coaches that brings girls together on the hill for one-day sessions.

The Elleboard registration fee includes membership to Canada and Alberta Snowboard, which covers access to sponsored events as well as liability insurance for participants. Sponsored by Roxy, Elleboard currently holds 4-5 events a year featuring exciting prizes and increasing competition as interest in the program continues to grow.  

Determined to see the success of Elleboard continue and encourage more women to push themselves as athletes, Sheena Keay is exploring all possible options to increase awareness of the program. This includes hosting off-snow events such as yoga nights as a way to introduce girls to Elleboard and each other so they might make friends and build confidence both on and off the hill. Although the winter months are coming to a close, Sheena is committed to riding for as long as nature allows, which means hiking in the Rocky Mountains to find some summer snow even after the lifts have shut down for the season.  

For more information on Elleboard, visit


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Veteran Canadian rider Mario Deslauriers wins Spruce Meadows Grand Prix

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CALGARY — Canada’s Mario Deslauriers and Bardolina 2 posted two clear rounds Saturday to take the Queen Elizabeth II Cup Grand Prix at Spruce Meadows.

In a jump-off with Mexico’s Carlos Hank Guerreiro and Australian Katie Laurie, Deslauriers and the 12-year-old mare didn’t put a rail down and topped the leaderboard with a time of 53.05 seconds.

Deslauriers said Bardolina 2 can be difficult to ride, but she was on her game Saturday in Calgary.

“Today, she jumped incredible,” Deslauriers said. “She was straight like an arrow and she jumped beautiful.”

Deslauriers and Bardolina 2 were Canada’s lone show jumping entry in the summer’s Tokyo Olympics where the duo placed 22nd.

“She was very good I think in the medal round (there),” Deslauriers said. “She had two fences down that were very cheap, but overall she jumped super well.

“Before she came here, she had to do three weeks quarantine because I was over my limit when I came back from Europe.

“Really, I jumped her one time at home, she got in the truck and came here, so I think she’s matured a lot. I can count on her. I don’t need to practise so much any more.”

Deslauriers, 56, is from Saint-Jean, Que., but lives in New York.

The North American is the last of three September tournaments totalling $5.6 million in prize money.

Spruce Meadows resumed hosting international show jumping events after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Mother and child lived in same complex as man charged in their murders: Alberta RCMP

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HINTON, Alta. — RCMP in Alberta say a man charged in the deaths of a woman and her 16-month-old toddler lived in the same apartment complex as the victims, but otherwise had no connection to them.

Police say in a news release that Robert Keith Major, 53, from Hinton, Alta., has been charged with two counts of second-degree murder and one count of indignity to human remains.

Mounties in Hinton have said the bodies of the 24-year-old woman and her child were found after they’d been reported missing on Thursday night from the community 290 kilometres west of Edmonton.

Police say they are not releasing the names of the woman and child out of respect for the wishes of the family, adding the family has asked for privacy to grieve.

They say they are not seeking any other suspects in the case.

Major remains in custody and will appear in Edson provincial court on Tuesday.

Autopsies are taking place Saturday and Sunday, police say.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 18, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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