For every age group in the WMSC, spring break was host to races throughout the province, and it was no exception for the Whistler FIS athletes, most of who were in Rossland March 20-25 at the Sport Chek Canadian National Championships, some arriving directly from Noram competition in Kimberley. The start list included, of course, Canada’s top technical skiers like Erik Read and Erin Mielzynski, both with top-10 World Cup finishes to their credit, which was pretty inspiring watch!
And while the field of racers ranged from first-year FIS athletes to recent Olympians, the race results illustrated just how much talent is coming up through the ranks at the provincial and club levels throughout Canada. For those more seasoned, it was an opportunity to again race friends and rivals from other parts of Canada, and for those new to this calibre of competition, a chance to be measured for the first time against the very best in the country.
The series started off with clear and sunny weather and a nice hard base, but milder temperatures and precipitation followed, making race conditions more challenging throughout the week, especially for the later bib numbers. The Men’s National Championships GS had to be postponed by a couple days due to inclement weather.
Nevertheless, it was nothing our coastal racers hadn’t endured before and they all had some shining moments!
Competition was predominantly led by national team athletes, amazing to witness as they set the pace for the rest of the pack, but there were a few exceptions, most notably on the women’s side with Cassidy Gray (2001) from Team Panorama clinching the U19 National Slalom title, and placing 7th overall that day! Also from Team Pano, Alyssa Hill earned the bronze in U19 GS and Jamie Casselman won the U19 Men’s Giant Slalom title and came 3rd in the slalom. WMSC alums Katie Fleckenstein mirrored Casselman’s results with a GS gold and slalom bronze for U19, and Asher Jordan, now BCST, took silver in U19 slalom. And in the first FIS slalom race (before Nationals) an impressive 25th place was registered by former NAST member Britt Phelan who has been competing with the National Ski Cross team the last 3 years. Britt entered without points, started bib #93 in her ski cross gear (no speed suit) and, not having had an inspection because she’d had her ski-cross comp earlier in the day, took a few pointers on line from coach Shannon and our club athletes before attacking the course!
The Whistler gals battled from the back of the pack as well and finished consistently over the 5 starts. Personal bests included a 43rd place for Gemma in the GS (NC) after starting 73, and 35th (started 70) in the 1st FIS SL for Gigi. Teammate Hannah McIntyre was unable to complete both race runs in the Red Mountain events, and Julia Ross was plagued by a concussion and unable to compete.
The Men’s events had their highs and lows, the slalom being a battle of attrition on a difficult hill with no patience for small mistakes; however, the Whistler boys made a strong effort and it paid off. Perhaps most impressive was the performance of Kieran Harley who, in the 1st slalom event was first down 2nd run having made the flip after starting #67. His time was fast enough to secure a 22nd place finish. He pulled off much the same result in the National Champs SL too, finishing 29th from bib 69. Posted teammate Hannah McIntyre on Facebook, “His second run looked sick, he had a whole cheering section inside the lodge.”
For Jack Forsyth, the slaloms didn’t finish up so well despite some impressive first runs, but redemption came in the form of an awesome 26th place finish in the Nationals GS! Fellow WMSC racer Kosta Petkovic finished close behind in 28th that day, with Dawson Yates coming in next in 31st. Dawson also put in two fast runs on day #2 in the SL, finishing 18th, and wound up 30th (from bib #50) in the Nationals SL.
Other highlights include Griffin Brumec-Parsons finishing in 35th in the National Champs SL after starting 76; Evan Allman placing 39th after starting bib #94 (wow!)
Steady improvement over the season is a testament to both the hard work of these athletes and the hours and hours of coaching (and driving!) by Shannon, Conrad, & Mark. Now most team members are at Panorama for the final FIS Spring Series of the season. Races will commence Tuesday and run through the weekend before athletes return home on the 9th, ideally with some results that’ll move them up in the rankings ahead of next season.
Best of luck to our FIS team!
For full results from Rossland, click here
For more information, please contact:
Media Liaison Whistler Mountain Ski Club