Snowbirds talk spring training in Comox – North Island Gazette


Like so many other things impacted by the pandemic, the Canadian Forces Snowbirds had to take a break from air shows in 2020, but are scheduled to return to the Comox Valley April 19-May 11 for their annual spring training.

Captain Gabriel Ferris, the team’s head of public affairs, explains in the latest edition of Record’s Off The Page podcast how the transition to performance last year was a little different, but hopes for a great season ahead.

“There were a lot of drive-in shows where we couldn’t go and meet the crowds. So the show itself, the show season was kind of weird. We are happy that this year things are starting to get back to normal a bit,” he said on the podcast.

The 2022 show season has already had to be changed slightly, with the cancellation of a handful of shows in the United States to kick off the show season. Ferris says the combination of bad winter weather and icy trails in Moose Jaw (home of the Snowbirds) brought the squadron to a level of readiness that wasn’t high enough for the team to start the season in the United States

“When we get to Comox, the show is usually almost over already, and we’re just making sure everything is spic and span for the people of the Comox Valley; they only see the best shows all the time without interruption,” he notes. “We evaluated a few weeks ago and realized that unfortunately we’re not going to be ready to put on a good show for the people in May when we come back from Comox. So we’re going to push everything to the right, cancel the first swing and start with the first Canadian show, which will take place in mid-June.

Ferris adds that those watching spring training this year may need to change their expectations of the team from previous years as they will be working on the actual build of the show and how the individual maneuvers fit together. He warns that this might not result in what regularly seems like a smooth show.

“You might see the same maneuver repeated three or four times in a row. When we set up a maneuver we actually start it a good distance between each throw and as we practice it we get tighter and tighter until we are up to four at six feet apart from wing to wing. But we don’t perform this maneuver on the first try from four feet away – that would be a lot – it would be scary for anyone doing it, even for us. So we have to reach that level of practice training. Basically, that’s what people will see in Comox.

As for Ferris’ favorite venue? You’ll have to listen to the podcast to find out.

To listen to the full episode, download Off The Page on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and wherever podcasts are heard, or visit New episodes of Off The Page are released every Wednesday.

To submit podcast topics or guest ideas, email



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