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The BC Winter Games have officially begun, bringing excitement and hundreds of young athletes together in Vernon, B.C., for a full day of competition.

Friday’s events started early with a Welcome Song from the Birch Creek Drummers.

“We usually sing [the Welcome Song] to other tribes. We are horse and canoe people; we used to travel, and we used to sing that to welcome other nations into our territory,” said Okanagan Indian Band Member and member of the Birch Creek Drummers, nitúsqt (William Robins).

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The Welcome Song was followed by archery at Vernon Secondary School.

“We always like to welcome everyone into our territory the proper way, which is singing, prayer and everything like that.”

Click to play video: 'BC Winter Games begins with colourful opening ceremony'

BC Winter Games begins with colourful opening ceremony

Avery Paterson has travelled from Prince George, B.C., to compete in archery.

“It’s really hard to not be nervous, but a lot of follow-through and process — if you have a bad shot it’s kind about going past that,” Paterson said.

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Representing the Thomspon Okanagan in archery is Eliana Stein from Falkland.

“I love the community,” said Stein.  “I love the focus it brings, it’s such a dedicated sport.”

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Up at Sovereign Lake, there’s everything from cross-country skiing to a biathalon, sit skiing and more.

“It was great. The conditions are slow, but it was good at the end,” said Kaden Baum from Salmon Arm, who took part in sit skiing.

“It’s a lot of work, but it’s fun.”

Up at Silver Star Mountain Resort, it’s non-stop fun and competition.

“We’ve all kind of sports happening [Friday] We’ve got alpine skiers are out there racing slalom, we’ve got alpine, we’ve got the snow borders are out doing slopestyle,” said Ian Jenkins with Silverstar Mountain Resort.

“We’ve got the skiers up doing moguls tomorrow. They mix it up and we have got snowboard cross, slalom racing for the alpine skiers, and then the freestyle skier move it to the park and they do slope style so lots happening.”

There are two more days full of fierce competition ahead. For a full schedule of events, visit

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Snowy competition brings together athletes from around B.C. for Winter Games – Okanagan |

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