A couple from Williams Lake enjoy sponsoring their teenage granddaughter who is a competitive skier.
Zoe Greze-Kozuki, 16, of Campbell River, won silver in a Canada Cup Series freestyle competition in Ontario March 10-13 and is competing in Calgary March 23-27 at the championships junior nationals.
His grandparents Ed and Midori Kozuki couldn’t be prouder.
Even when an injury delayed the start of her season this year, the Kozukis decided she needed to be at Sun Peaks with her team and arranged to meet her there.
“We had her with us and she was able to volunteer and hang out with her teammates,” Ed said. “It was good for us to see.”
Zoe first went skiing at the age of three at Mount Timothy Recreation Resort near Lac la Ache with her mother Kim Kozuki, brother Thomas and grandparents.
Kim recalled how her parents fought over winter clothes and ski clothes because she and her kids showed up at the airport wearing flip flops.
“They were living in Hawaii at the time and were home for a visit over the Christmas break,” Ed said.
“She wasn’t scared,” Midori recalled of the first time Zoe skied.
By age five, Zoe was skiing Mount Washington near Campbell River on weekends and joined Nancy Greene’s running program.
“I started freestyle skiing when I was 10 and started competing provincially when I was 12,” she said. “This year was my first competition at the Canadian Open.
She competed in the national junior championships at age 13, winning first place in the big air.
While training in Whistler, she lived with Anita Fawcett, who grew up in Williams Lake and is good friends with her mother Kim Kozuki. Fawcett took Zoe to competition in Ontario recently.
To train, Zoe skis six days a week and takes online lessons for her Grade 11 classes.
“I love skiing so much,” she said. “It’s my happy place. The mountains are so pretty and freestyle is so much fun because you can get super creative with all the different tricks you do and show off your style and stuff.
She has two older brothers Thomas and Andrew, both born in Williams Lake and an older sister Surya.
Her father Gilles Greze is from France and works in home care and Kim works for the school district as a school psychologist.
The family lived in Honolulu, Hawaii because of Kim’s job when Zoe was born.
“I was three and a half when we moved to Canada,” Zoe said.
This season started slowly for her as she dislocated her shoulder in September 2021 while training in Quebec on a dry track.
She was unable to compete for the first few months, so competing in Ontario was her first this season.
In addition to skiing, she plays soccer, basketball at school and enjoys running.
Once the season is over, she will return to school in person at Carihi High School in Campbell River.
Considering her future, she said she would take advantage of all the opportunities skiing gave her, but keep it fun.
“When I’m having fun, that’s when I ski best.”
Kim said Zoe wouldn’t be where she is without Ed and Midori’s help.
“They talk about a village and she has quite a big village around her. Anita and Jeff also help get them to live with her in Whistler. My parents took her to two competitions this year, competitions that I would not have been able to participate in. I only visited one. »
Kim said her parents met Zoe there, put her up in a hotel and were there to support her.
Ed and Midori, both 84, are still hitting the slopes.
They started cross-country skiing while raising their children in the Williams Lake area at Riske Creek, Deep Creek at the Old Ski Trail and Bull Mountain.
“We followed them around the hill and that’s how we learned to ski, and then our grandchildren followed us,” Ed recalls.
He switched from skiing to snowboarding when he was 60.
“We just love spending family time together doing these things.”
The week of March 21, Ed is hosting a workshop with older skiers for the Mt. Washington-based Vancouver Island Society of Adaptive Snowsports.
There are hardly any 84-year-old skiers, so the hill decided his parents deserved a free lift ticket on Saturday.
“Having her grandparents as role models to guide her inspired Zoe,” Kim added.
Campbell RiverskiingWilliams Lake