Rémi Bélanger spent 12 years training in trampoline — a Summer Olympic sport — for the chance to strap on skis and represent Canada at the 2010 Winter Games.
The 21-year-old from Montreal is competing Wednesday in the 2009 Canada Post Grand Prix at Cypress Mountain with the national aerial development team.
“I skied for fun (when I was young) but I wasn’t a skier,” Bélanger said Tuesday, adding it was actually easier to come into the sport with a gymnastics background than a skiing background.
“That’s why we (gymnasts) learn the sport fast, because we know how to twist and flip. It might take eight years (for a skier) to get where I am now, and it took me four years.”
Bélanger spends his winters competing and his summers training in the gym and on water ramps.
“(Aerials) makes you feel high,” he said. “I like to go high and jump, so to do it on skis and go even higher on the trampoline feels amazing.”
In a dizzying display of strength, agility and sheer bravery, four members of the aerial team showed off their acrobatic skills on a trampoline at Park Royal on Tuesday.
When they perform the same death-defying feats on snow, they’re jumping three times higher and moving at around 70 kilometres an hour.
This week’s World Cup event at Cypress, which runs until Saturday, will be the last opportunity for Canada’s mogul, ski cross and aerial teams to train and compete on the course ahead of the 2010 Games.