It was a triumphant year for the Searchmont Ski Runners with local race team members adding gold, silver, and bronze medals to their award walls. This is especially true for Jacques Tiessen. His commendable placement in the Ontario U16 Provincial Championships in Thunder Bay in early March made him a qualifier for the Eastern Can Ams in Stowe, Vermont at the end of March.
As a U14 in 2012, Jacques also qualified for the Eastern Can Ams. Although not the first or only racer to be selected for these events based on their provincial results, he is the only SSR racer who has qualified twice.
Jacques’ race resume is indeed impressive. He has earned a top place in the SSR boy’s standings since the 2009-2010 season. He has been the top Northern Ontario Division (NOD) male racer in his category since the 2010-2011 season, with this year being somewhat of an exception, as he missed half the NOD races due to conflicting out of Division races, but still ended up with a Second place finish.
This season Jacques became an ambassador for the SSR, reciprocating participation in some USSA and SOD races, as the club has often welcomed racers from those series at Searchmont.
The Christmas season was far from a holiday break for Jacques. He raced at Nub’s Nob in Michigan, and brought home Gold in Slalom (SL) and Silver in the Giant Slalom (GS). In mid-January, Jacques competed in the USSA Central Region (3) Finals, in Marquette, MI, where the top athletes from 7 states competed. Jacques secured a few top 10 finishes: an 8th in the Super-G race and a 7th in the GS in his category. Given the strength of the field, these results are exceptional!
Challenges are a part of every competitive athlete’s life, and due to illness, Jacques missed last year’s Provincials and started the current season with no way of knowing how he measured up against the competitive field. In late January, Jacques participated in two Southern Ontario Division (SOD) races, where he placed 16th in the GS. Racing in these events was his opportunity to assess his position.
His performance at these SOD races, earned him an invitation by Alpine Ontario to represent NOD in the Mid-Winter Can-Ams in February, where his best finish was 24th in the SL. He was one of over 100 U16 boys that included racers from the US and Quebec along with most of the top racers from Southern Ontario Division and National Capital Division.
Jacques went into the U16 Provincials this year, with two goals: 1) to break the top 10 in the province and 2) to qualify for 2015 U16 Eastern Can-Am Championships. He proudly accomplished both.
His best finish at the Provincials was an 8th place in the GS, but he also had a 13th place in the second GS, one 18th place in the SL, and 17th and 18th places in the Super-G (SG) races. The Ontario Team for these Can Ams is determined from points calculated based on finishes, and the top 20 pointed U16 boys and girls are selected.
These are truly ambitious goals for a young athlete. Alongside his father, who is also his coach and mentor, he has built a strong commitment towards his goals and is looking forward to next year’s race season at the FIS level.
The Club is extremely honoured to have Jacques as a member, and representing both the race team and Searchmont Ski Resort at this level. He has worked extremely hard towards his much focussed goals. Friends, family, fellow racers are all proud to share in his commendable accomplishments this year.