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Northwest Territories

12-year-old N.W.T. snowboarding star says Olympian Liam Gill gave her confidence to win gold

A 12-year-old snowboarder from Fort Smith, NWT, who has won two gold Ulus at the Arctic Winter Games so far, says Olympic snowboarder Liam Gill inspires her confidence on the slopes.

Storm Cabell-White met Gill almost a year ago while attending a snowboard clinic in her community. Gill, 19, was born and raised in Calgary and is a member of the Łı́ı́dlı̨ı̨ Kų́ę́ First Nation in the NWT

Upon hearing of the young athlete’s success, Gill said Tuesday brightens his day.

“Storm is just great, she has such great style and I’m so happy for her,” said Gill, from Mammoth Lakes, California, where he is competing in a qualifier for a World Cup event this week.

A snowboarder slides down a rail during a competitive event.
Cabell-White takes part in the Rail Jam event at the Arctic Winter Games on Monday. (Thomas Hopkins/Wood Buffalo Arctic Winter Games 2023)

Gill traveled to Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Yellowknife to ride with kids nearly a year ago, just after competing for Team Canada at the Beijing Olympics. Cabell-White said she enjoyed having him around.

“He would just tell us stories and go snowboarding with us, and that was a lot of fun,” said Cabell-White. “It made me feel like I wanted to go to those things … the Olympics sounded fun.”

After the clinic, Cabell-White said she felt more confident. That confidence helped her win a gold Ulu in a rail jam event on Monday and a slopestyle event on Tuesday.

She believes a new trick – the rainbow – helped her win the Rail Jam event.

“At first I was scared because I didn’t think I could do it, but I knew I could do it,” she said.

Speaking to CBC News Tuesday before her second gold Ulu was announced, Cabell-White said she was super excited about her first win at the Arctic Winter Games.

Canadian snowboarder Liam Gill training in the halfpipe at the Beijing Winter Olympics in February 2022. When he got home, Gill traveled to Fort Smith, Fort Simpson and Yellowknife in the NWT to ride with kids. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

“Everyone was watching me and taking photos. I was the center of attention, it felt kind of weird going for first place,” she said, adding that she was “relieved” when she was no longer in the spotlight.

Gill said he hopes to travel to NWT to do more clinics.

“These kids definitely inspired me and reminded me why I love snowboarding and how passionate they were about everything. It was just amazing to see,” he said.

Video call screenshot of a young smiling man.
Gill speaks to CBC North of Mammoth Lakes, California, where he is playing a qualifier for a World Cup event this week. (CBC)

“I can’t wait to go back and spend some more time with them. I definitely want to make it an annual thing where I can see her more often.”

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