NewsSports Howell’s family excitement is “off the scale” for Friday’s event SHARE ON: Taylor Ablett, contributor, Tuesday Feb. 13th, 2018 Photo Credit: Submitted by Dara Howell,. Taken by: Peter Morning This Friday is the day Olympic fans from Huntsville are waiting for. Local athlete Dara Howell will be on the hill in an attempt to defend her 2014 Sochi Olympic gold medal in slopestyle skiing. Howell made history four years ago as the first Olympian to make it to the top of the podium in slopestyle skiing, as it was the first time the sport was part of the Olympic Games. Howell’s grandmother Sandy Raven says the excitement and pride the family has is off the scale, and says the town support is great. //www.mymuskokanow.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Raven-1.mp3 Raven says the competition is going to be tough for 23-year-old Howell, noting she skis with the other women in the world circuit all year. She says they are friends, but at the top of the hill, you’re on your own. Back in 2014 Howell started Dara’s Fund, which is a grant for female athletes to be able to continue in their sport. Raven says that was a way for Howell to support her community. //www.mymuskokanow.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Raven-2.mp3 Over $5,000 has been given to female athletes in Muskoka through the grant. Hidden Valley is hosting a viewing party on Friday night for when Howell skis. Her qualifying round is at 8:00pm and the finals will begin at 11:00pm. Howell is one of two Olympians from cottage country competing in Pyeongchang. The other is Chris Lee, from MacTier, who is playing for Team Canada on the men’s hockey team.