Achieving success against the best in the world came second to having the chance to compete together internationally for the first time as a family for the Pinettes this past month.
Those are the sentiments of Parnell and his sons, Conley, who turns 19 on Dec. 30, and Lucas, 12 — after returning home from the PanAm Waterski Championships in Santiago, Chile, as members of Team Canada.
“That was the biggest thing, for all three of us to be competing together,” Conley told the Tribune while home from university for the holidays. “I got a chance to see both of them in the finals, and that was really cool — especially watching Lucas. He’s now jumped farther than I did when I was his age. He went out and had a score to beat and he just dealt with all that pressure and still won, and it was awesome to watch — especially after the kid before him had just had a big crash.”
Lucas won a gold medal in jump, and helped Canada’s under-14 team to a first-place overall finish. Individually, Lucas finished third overall.
“The highlight for me was winning jump,” Lucas said. “That’s what I wanted to do the most.”
The gold-medal-winning jump saw Lucas soar 120 feet for first place.
“It was pretty awesome, getting to ski with all my family, my dad and my brother, and getting to podium for Team Canada.”
Conley, skiing in the under-21 division at the PanAm Championships, brought home a gold medal in trick, a silver medal in jump and a fifth-place result in slalom — good for overall gold at the tournament.
He also helped Team Canada to an overall silver medal.
Conley currently attends the University of Louisiana Lafayette as a member of the school’s waterski team where he’s in his sophomore year of completing a business management degree.
From last February, he said things have been busy with the school’s waterski team.
“It’s been a really long season, but I was happy with the way I skied at PanAms, all things considered,” he said. “I started skiing this past February and have just been going really hard since May.”
A typical week at school between studies will see Conley skiing either before, after, in between or any combination of the three each day, depending on his schedule.
“It’s nice now to be able to get some time off and come home and just get focused for next year,” he said.
Parnell, meanwhile, sailed to a silver medal in jump and a second-place overall finish as a member of Team Canada’s 45-plus team.
The family added they would like to thank Scott Nelson at Sun Valley Gas and Shuswap Ski and Board for their support travelling to Chile for the tournament.