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‘She was just a joy’: B.C. parents mourn death of ski cross racer in biking accident

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Tributes are coming in for a promising young ski-cross racer who was killed in a mountain biking accident. Catherine Urquhart reports – Oct 3, 2019

The parents of a Squamish, B.C., ski cross champion are in shock after their daughter died in a mountain biking accident near the Stawamus Chief this week.

Mikayla Martin was biking in the Slhaney Trail system with her friend Tuesday evening when she was seriously injured. Despite the efforts of search and rescue crews, she did not survive her injuries.

The 22-year-old was an up-and-coming ski cross racer with dreams of competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, after winning other championships and qualifying for this year’s World Cup.

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Squamish seeing uptick in search and rescue operations – Aug 15, 2019

Martin’s parents, Christine and James, held the 2018 FIS World Junior Champion gold medal she won in New Zealand as they remembered their daughter.

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“You still say ‘Oh, I hope she walks through the door, I hope she’s going to turn that corner.’ And she doesn’t,” Christine said.

“She was just so happy, so healthy, and just ready to meet life fully. So it’s difficult.”

READ MORE: Former ‘Amazing Race Canada’ contestant dies after fall on B.C. mountain

James remembered the various outdoor adventures the family would go on together, calling Martin his “adventure buddy.”

“Things still don’t seem real,” he said. “Things are starting to sink in, but it’s going to take such a long time to come to grips with this.

In a statement mourning Martin’s loss, Alpine Canada said she switched from alpine racing to ski cross in 2017 and “quickly made a name for herself,” joining the national team that same year.

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She later placed in the top 10 in two events this past season, including placing sixth at the World Cup in Switzerland.

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Those wins helped her earn a spot in her first World Championships at Solitude Mountain Resort near Salt Lake City, Utah. Despite ending her season in a “spectacular” crash, Alpine Canada said she was still able to qualify for the World Cup team and race in the circuit the following season.

“Mikayla embodied a love of skiing and passion for ski cross that were boundless and words can’t express how sorely she’ll be missed,” Alpine Canada president and CEO Vania Grandi said in a statement.

READ MORE: Pemberton avalanche victim remembered as pioneering Squamish mountain biker

Squamish RCMP say they are investigating the crash along with the BC Coroners Service to determine what happened.

“The death of Mikayla is a huge loss for the community of Squamish and an immense loss for her family and friends and our thoughts are with them,” said Sgt. Sascha Banks.

While seeing a promising career cut short is hard for the parents, Christine said she’ll miss the happy and supportive daughter she helped raise.

READ MORE: Climber injured in fall from Stawamus Chief in Squamish

“She was just a joy,” she said. “She always had a smile on her face, she loved to laugh, loved silly jokes. She was outgoing, easygoing.

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“We’re going to miss so much about her.”

A GoFundMe has been set up by Martin’s family.

— With files from Catherine Urquhart

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