“Coach Ben” remembers Will…

Ben Ogilvie was one of Will’s favourite freestyle coaches.  “Coach Ben” still coaches with Fernie Freestyle and is a strong competitor in freestyle and freeski competitions.  He submitted the following:


I would love to share two moments with Will that stand out in my mind. I miss him terribly, and these two replay in my mind all the time.


I would say this first event happened right smack in the middle of Fernie Freestyle and it didn’t happen in Knot Chutes or Anaconda Glades, but on the Mighty Moose Poma of all places. Will and his friends, Dylan, Evan, Calvin, and Alex were right in their element, which of course, was under my skin and on my nerves. It was right after lunch on a pow day; we were going up the Poma to get to Timber as fast as we could, so naturally the boys were excited! They were going up Poma switch, spinning around, skating up to each other, crashing, letting go of Poma’s and… I was getting frustrated.


At the top of the Poma, Will rode the Poma all the way up to the top of the wall (where

you’re not supposed to be); he let go of the Poma, tripping the wire in doing so, stopping the lift and then finished the move off by crashing into Dylan or Evan.  I momentarily lost it, explaining that this was a wrong move and that he might have hurt his buddies.


Will knew this right away of course, and quickly apologized, and remarked that he realized it can be difficult to be a coach when your kids are acting up and he was truly sorry.  It was of the slightest infraction and he was doing what he was supposed to be doing, which was having fun, but he was sorry and showed tremendous empathy and humility.  It was a thing of beauty and a coaches dream come true.


The next memory that comes to mind is much shorter and I think its what I miss the most about Will.  It was during the 2011 Smith Optics Junior Fernie Freeskiing event that happened annually at Fernie Alpine Resort. It was the finals and Will was in contention to lay down another solid result and was skiing like he wanted it!  He chose a fast fluid line, and went way “skiers right”; lining up the big jump that Dylan Siggers hit. I think it was the biggest I’ve seen him go. He hit it fast, and strong, and in a perfect, stacked body position – the way we’d always practiced.  He went a little too big however, and landed practically in the flats.  Luckily the snow was soft because his tumble was spectacular. Will shook it off, collected his gear, and came thru the gate and skied up to us with a smile and a look on his face that said, “You see how big I went?!!!”  I remember thinking at that moment that I loved watching Will ski.


I miss you Will.  You were a remarkable soul that resided in an incredibly strong body and you shone brightly as a wonderful person.

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