INDIGENOUS LIFE SPORT ACADEMY
Meet The Team
Founder & Executive Director
Court Larabee (traditional name: Siginaak aka Blackbird) is from Thunder Bay Ontario and is a member of the Anishinaabe and the Lac des Mille Lacs nations. He is our Executive Director and an Indigenous sports and community advocate, business owner, public speaker and snowboard enthusiast. Court is also the Indigenous Relations Specialist at Whistler Blackcomb and is passionate about empowering our local Indigenous community. As a result of his commitment and advocacy, Court was awarded the Rising Star of 2020 award by the Whistler Chamber of Commerce. He was also the Vice President of the First Nations Snowboard Team, which later became ILSA. Outside of work you can find Court enjoying the mountain on his snowboard, going down a biking trail or spending quality time with his dog Sheba.
Director - Hiking Programs
Myia Antone is a member of the Squamish Nation and runs our Grouse mountain programming as well as being the Director of our Alpine hiking programs. She is the founder of Indigenous Women Outdoors, a non-profit that empowers Indigenous women to participate and become leaders in the outdoor industry. As a Wilderness First Responder Myia has led various activity trips for local indigenous youth in BC, sharing her love for the lands her ancestors have occupied for generations. She is also passionate about the Squamish language and is currently a student in an advanced Squamish language program.
Director and Founder of the FNST
Aaron Marchant is our Director of Resort Relations and is a member of the Squamish Nation from West Vancouver. In 2004 Aaron founded the First Nations Snowboard Team through funds established as part of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics. The First Nations Snowboard Team started with only 10 members, but through its success of reconnecting indigenous youth to the lands the organization grew to include hundreds of members from nations across Canada. In 2020 we decided to include more sports and focus on social change rather than competition, and thus the First Nations Snowboard Team became ILSA. As a dedicated champion for his community, Aaron is also the Special Projects Coordinator for the Squamish Nation. His love for snowboarding, which laid the foundation for the work we do today, remains unchanged.
Director and Lil'wat Nation Lead
Sandy Ward of the Lil’wat Nation is the Director of our Biking and Climbing programs for the Lil’wat Nation. She was one of the founding members of the First Nations Snowboard Team, which is where she started snowboarding. Sandy now has 20 years of snowboarding under her belt and has been a competitive halfpipe rider, snowboard instructor and backcountry enthusiast. This has given her the opportunity to travel around the world and work in places like Japan and France. Sandy is currently working for Indigenous Women Outdoors together with its founder and fellow board member Myia Antone. In her spare time Sandy is an instructor on our snowboard program and an avid mountain biker and climber.
Squamish Nation Mountain Bike Manager
Chelsie is a devoted leader and mentor, Wet’suwet’en from the community of Witset, and has been part of our family since the very beginning. Shortly after moving to Whistler in 2004, Chelsie read about the newly founded First Nations Snowboard Team in a local newspaper. Chelsie made a series of cold calls until she connected with founder Aaron Marchant. Aaron then asked Chelsie to become a snowboard instructor with the team, which led to 17 years of dedication to the organization as a leader, mentor, program coordinator and competitor. Chelsie is still an integral part of ILSA, and leads our biking and climbing programs. Now her son Cullan and daughter Kaida are following in her mighty footsteps as members of ILSA. Chelsie loves skateboarding, snowboarding, biking and yoga. She teaches yoga twice a week on-line with her home community members who live both on reserve and off reserve. Chelsie is also an ambassador for Burton Snowboard.
Director of Snowboarding
Tim Russell is our Director of Snowboarding and has been coaching with the First Nation Snowboarding Team since 2011. Naturally, this has given him extensive knowledge of both Whistler and Blackcomb mountain (he knows all the best hidden powder spots). He is also a two time Irish snowboard champion as well as a highly regarded instructor and coach. Tim has a great passion for snowboarding, he loves teaching people and watching the excitement in their face when they land a new trick. He is also committed to Indigenizing his coaching practices with the team, from traditional ways of learning to storytelling and connection to the land. Tim is excited for the new era of ILSA and providing unstructured sport for Indigenous young people in the Sea to Sky.
Mount Seymour FNST program
Nicholle Ashley Lanoue
Originally from Sweet Grass First Nation, Saskatchewan, Nicholle relocated to North Vancouver, BC 8 years ago and has been coaching ILSA recreational team at Mt. Seymour for the past two years.
Nicholle works with Indigenous Youth of all ages, whether it’s teaching them how to read or Ollie but finds most value
in empowering Indigenous Youth to get out and explore.
When Nicholle is not on the slopes you can find her doing handstands in the park!
Mikey is from the Nisga’a Nation and is the keystone of our Skateboard and Snowboard programs. When Mikey was 18 years old he started snowboarding with the First Nations Snowboard Team at Grouse Mountain. Finding his love for snowboarding, Mikey would eventually become a celebrated coach. He is a two time Whistler Blackcomb Instructor of the year, and has helped hundreds of kids to become confident riders. Besides snowboarding Mikey is the manager of our skateboard program, and is using his skills to help our members find joy and freedom in skateboarding. In his spare time you can find Mikey skating, snowboarding, hiking, camping, exploring and so much more. Above all, Mikey believes in just having fun with whatever it is you're doing. Follow our Instagram for a bunch of Mikey’s awesome video clips.
Indigenous Life Sport Academy is honoured to have such an amazing group of volunteers to serve as the Directors and Team Managers of our non profit.