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ABOUT US

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Emanuela Bandol
Founder & Skills Coach

My name is Emanuela, I am the founder of Okanagan Bike and Ski, here in Kelowna, BC. I am a Certified MTB and Nordic Ski Coach.

My journey in endurance sports began in my early 20’s as a triathlete, cyclist and runner.  Over the last two decades, I’ve raced over 10 Ironman Triathlons, 25+ Half Ironman, Olympic Distance events, 10 marathons (Boston Qualified), and Cycling Road Races at Cat 2 level in Canada and US. The hard work and dedication allowed me to race in every triathlon governing body at a World Championship level: Ironman Kona, 70.3, ITU Long Course, Xterra Maui and ITU Off Road World Championships.


One of my proudest achievements was in 2017 when I became AG Xterra World Champion at the ITU Off Road Triathlon. With this accomplishment I earned my Elite racing card in Xterra Triathlon and Mountain Biking. The last few years I have focused solely on mountain bike racing 6hr,12hr, multi-day gravel and mountain biking stage races in North America. In the winter I race Ski Mountaineering (SKIMO) in the PNW and participate in local Nordic Ski Loppets.

 

While I absolutely love racing, I think of myself as more than just an athlete. I love sharing the knowledge I have gained over the years and witnessing someone’s “A-HA” moments and as an adult learner myself I have a profound appreciation of the challenges faced when acquiring new and complex skills. I am passionate about youth development; I work with adults of all ages, and I'll bring out your love of summer and winter sports! Teaching and coaching has been the most challenging and rewarding experience of my career and I can’t wait to help you become a proficient mountain biker and/or Nordic skier.

Let's go play and explore the beautiful Okanagan!

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Nicole Barby
Skills Coach

My name is Nicole Barby, and I have been obsessed with bikes for over a decade. I first discovered Cross-Country (XC) mountain biking when I lived in Edmonton. From there, I followed my heart to the mountains, ending up in Kelowna, BC. 

 

I have raced in Enduro, XC, DownHill (DH) and Road races throughout BC and Alberta.

Notable accomplishments include Crankworx Canada Cup, XC at Whistler with 3rd place. And, 24 Hours of Adenaline, Solo category. 24HOA was particularly notable with non stop rain, foot deep mud and desire for sleep. After 23 hours, I ended up on the podium with 2nd place. 

 

Other adventures along the way include a mountain leader for a women's race team, coaching, hosting rides, trail building and attending Interbike in Las Vegas. 

 

I am NCCP certified and enjoy helping riders improve their skills. I have a laid back approach and can support a variety of learning and comfort levels.

 

I love to share what I have learned throughout this journey, and most of all, I want to meet like minded people with a passion for the outdoors.

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Emily Salmon
Skills Coach

My name is Emily and my passion is sharing the stoke for biking. I am a certified Level 1 PMBIA instructor and NCCP Ride Leader Certified, local trail advocate, and adventure seeker on two wheels. I love exploring bike trails all over our beautiful province. 

I moved to BC from Ontario in 2012, and there began my love for outdoor sports. I wasn’t introduced to biking until 2016, at 27 years old. It took me a few years to really dive into the sport but once I did, there was no looking back. 

I can’t imagine life without bikes. I’m a firm believer that learning a new sport as an adult gives me an advantage to teaching. I remember, freshly, what it was like to struggle as a beginner so I strive to make learning easier and fun for beginners - especially adults - in a judgement free zone. (There may be some sarcasm sprinkled in, but it’s all in the name of good fun) 

Most recently I completed my first enduro, and look forward to participating in more as the season continues. 

I love biking in all the amazing areas the Okanagan has to offer - Smith Creek being my favourite. When I’m not riding in the Okanagan, my favourite place to escape to is Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast. 

Let’s have fun on bikes!

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My name is Jacob, I have been mountain biking for almost 5 years and I love it. I have cross country skied for over 8 years and raced for 5 years. I have received two technique awards for cross country skiing and I started coaching 3 years ago. I have completed my Cycling BC NCCP Ride Leader Certification, I love coaching and laughing with the kids. It brings me joy to see young kids enjoying the sports that I enjoy doing.

Jacob Miller
Skills Coach
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Sasha Podolchak

Sash is deeply passionate about outdoor adventure including both mountain biking and backcountry skiing. With over 25 years of experience, Sash has honed her mountain biking skills on diverse trails throughout BC. Her dedication is enhanced by her PMBIA coaching certification, and her focus on safety is complimented by current Occupational Level 3 First Aid training. Additionally, she has served as a paramedic in BC for over two decades. 

 

In the winter months, Sash embraces backcountry skiing, touring several different mountain ranges around BC. She brings her safety-focused mindset from her professional roles as a paramedic and wildland firefighter, along with avalanche operations level one through the Canadian Avalanche Association. Her experience also comes from her role as a Professional Ski Patroller at Silver Star Mountain Resort, ensuring the safety of guests.

 

Beyond outdoor adventures, Sash co-founded the Grindstone Foundation, empowering female athletes. Sash's passion in life is about the joy of pursuing outdoor adventure passions while making a positive impact.

Skills Coach

REVIEWS AND TESTIMONIALS

"I recently took a skate ski lesson with Emanuela. I must say I was very impressed. I had taken a lesson previously that focused on the basic of basics. I found Em's layout of the lesson to flow very well starting with some drills, progressing to V1, V2, Free skate technique, offest both sides up hills and proper cornering. I liked that it was interactive in that she took me out on the trails, allowing me to practice in a real life situation where the trails are not uniform as opposed to flat track in stadium. She has a real knack for being able to discern what kind of learner you are (visual, auditory, mixture) and teach to that ensuring you get the best result possible. The follow up email including video's of our sessions, and where I need to work on were invaluable and the correct technique videos were very helpful also in visualizing what the gold standard is. I learned ALOT about weight transfer and using my arms correctly! 10 out of 10 would recommend!!!" 

- Crystal B

“Emanuela is a fantastic teacher and coach. She has a great ability to break down technical information in an easy to understand and relatable manner. She's able to quickly spot and correct technique errors by providing tips and examples that you're able to easily grasp. I felt noticeable improvements during the clinic and look forward to taking another!"

- Tamasin R

“Emanuela is a knowledgeable, patient, and effective coach. She had a plan prepared for our session, and led us through a progression of drills and exercises to increase our skills and confidence. Her energy and passion for helping people enjoy outdoor activities is infectious and it made for a very fun lesson. I would highly recommend Emanuela as a coach!”

- Kaela C

“I wouldn’t be out hitting the Okanagan trails on my mountain bike if it wasn’t for you Emanuela! Your passion and enthusiasm for the sports are contagious and invaluable.”

- Valentina M

"I learned so much in my recent XC classic ski lesson with Emanuela. And because the lesson was on a real trail, I could practice the drills and techniques on an actual XC ski trail. Consequently I could feel and see my technique improve almost immediately. I thoroughly enjoyed her communication style, she has this ability to hone in on what style of learning works best for you. I highly recommend Emanuela".

- Tessa N

"I very much enjoyed your skate-skiing lesson last weekend. I think you are a very good coach - which has as much to do with personal interaction and an outlook geared towards fun, as it does technical ability. I also appreciated the fact that you kept us moving for most of the lesson, and didn't just stand around talking at us, as some coaches seem to do." 

- Susan E

“Thank you again for an amazing day!  I took away some major game-changers  and had such a blast. You are an awesome coach! I can’t wait to do more clinics with you.” 

- Jen L

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