News and Announcements
Under clear skies and on firm snow, WMSC hosted the Whistler Blackcomb RDP Program, Cypress Mtn and Seymour Mtn for the annual U12 Nancy Greene Skills Event this recent Saturday on Whistler. Over 100 U12 racers participated in four different events – Turns, Tuck and Skate, Dual Glalom and Super G. For the Turns, the 1st place in 2007 female was Mia Aiello from WMSC and the 1st place in 2007 male was Gregor Smyth from WMSC, the 1st place in 2008 female Anais Stanniforth from RDP WB and the 1st place in 2008 male was Dominic Reid from RDP WB, in 1st place in 2009 female was Isla Gordon from RDP WB and in 1st place in 2009 male was Theodore Bennett from RDP WB. In Tuck and Skate, the 1st place in 2007 female was Marlowe Cook from WMSC and the 1st place in 2007 male was Thomas Legg from WMSC, the 1st place in 2008 female Sophie Neeves from WMSC and the 1st place in 2008 male was Kingsley Parkhill from WMSC, in 1st place in 2009 female was Sarah Fell from Cypress and in 1st place in 2009 male was Owen Ullrich from Cypress. For the Dual Glalom race, Marlowe Cook from WMSC was the fastest 2007 female and Thomas Legg from WMSC was the fastest 2007 male, Hannah Neeves from WMSC was the fastest 2008 female and Dreas Gibbons was the fastest 2008 male, and the fastest 2009 female was Sarah Fell from Cypress and fastest 2009 male was Sasha Cromwell from RDP WB. Finally, in the Super G race, Thea Torn, WMSC, and Thomas Legg, WMSC, had the fastest times for 2007, Liv Heyries, Cypress and Dreas Gibbons, WMSC, had the fastest times for 2008, Sarah Fell, Cypress, and Oliver Baynham, RDP WB had the fastest times for 2009.
From Gillian McFetridge, Lead Coach for the WMSC U12 Program: “I’ve had the great pleasure of working with a group of young and talented coaches this season. Their eye for technical improvements and their ability to connect with the kids has led us to some fantastic results this weekend. We’re very proud of our U12’s for their hard work at training, and for their success this weekend!”
It was another big road trip to Provincials this year for the U14 athletes. Clear driving conditions made the 8 hours pretty smooth and scenic, a first-time route for many of the convoy of parents and athletes driving up to Prince George through 100 Mile House, Williams Lake and Quesnel.
Athletes, coaches and parents alike all commented on the amazing venue at Purden. A legacy of the 2015 Canada Games hosted there, the club and hill had the opportunity to put some grant money to good use by widening the race hill and blasting out some large rock sections to lengthen the run. They were able to upgrade race equipment and timing facilities too, making the venue really well suited for both SL and GS with good fall-line and lots of challenging terrain.
Weather was mostly sunny throughout the weekend with temperatures starting off cool and then warming up through the day. Race conditions were pretty solid, but came with the challenges that result from warm afternoon sunshine! The Prince George Ski Club was ready though and, with the help of a terrific volunteer crew, hosted 3-days of fun, well-organized races.
172 athletes from 19 clubs took part in the Provincial Championships this weekend, racing in Slalom, Giant Slalom and then a Team Dual Slalom that combined racers from a mix of clubs onto 32 teams.
Coach Bob Armstrong was among the first to comment on how well-suited the location was for these races. “This is an absolutely fantastic venue,” he said, “I don’t think any of us expected this kind of hill.” He went on to say he was proud to see “the amazing effort put in by all of our athletes this weekend.”
After a solid season of training ahead of this provincial Championships, more kids were really sending it, seeking that next gear instead of playing it safe, and clocking some impressive times.
WMSC athletes showed they were here to race! Led by Whistlerites Alexa Brownlie and Felix Shorter who owned the podium this weekend, there were awesome performances by so many different athletes, showing a real depth of the team (and the results of many hours of hard work by our coaches! Shout-out to Bob, Henry, Johnny, Chloe, Rob, and Scott, all a very big part of this weekend too.)
Day 1 was slalom and both Alexa Brownlie and Felix Shorter wore bib #1 and won both runs, each taking gold at the end of the day. Brownlie’s combined time of 1:41:50 was a solid couple seconds ahead, but she shared the podium with teammate Erin Husken who earned the silver (1:43:91) ahead of Apex’s Molly Raymond (1:44:65). Sarah-Elizabeth Whelan also put in a great performance, finishing 10th, and 1st year Lola Gilbert skied to 23rd place from bib #60.
Shorter finished with a combined time of 1:32:60. Second in the Men’s event went to Alex Gainey from Apex (1:37:11) and third to WMSC teammate Milan Novak (1:37:55). 1st year JJ Gibbons pulled off a top 20 result finishing 18th, and Jasper Shea came 25th wearing bib #55.
Saturday was Giant Slalom, again cool temperatures in the morning that quickly warmed up, making snow conditions quite different between runs. Felix Shorter again dominated the field, winning first run by over 2 seconds and claiming top spot with a combined time of 1:40:31 followed by Baptiste Cais from the Black Dogs team (1:43:11) and Revelstoke’s Reed Kelly (1:43:50). Just 11/100ths of a second off the podium was teammate Milan Novak (1:43:61) who was just ahead of WMSC’s Alec Waldrum (1:44:37). JJ Gibbons put in another fast day with a 9th place finish, and Evan Dennison came 21st. It was tough day for WMSC’s Jack Thomas, 6th place after a great first run but down with a crash in the 2nd.
When asked what lent to his podium successes this weekend (besides the great skiing and all of the training he’s put in this season of course!), Shorter gave credit to his dad for being “really good at tuning my skis.”
In the ladies GS, times were very were close after first run, with 1st and 5th places separated by half a second. Izzy Bexton clocked 3rd fastest time 1st run but disappointingly DNF’d on her second. With 2 runs tallied, it was Apex’s Samantha Lawlor who won with a combined time of 1:43:93 followed by teammate Sienna Blaaser who tied WMSC’s Alexa Brownlie with a time of 1:44:86 for the silver. WMSC’s Ella Kauffman scored a Top 10 finish in 7th place, just ahead of Erin Husken in 9th and Sarah-Elizabeth Whelan in 12th. And 1st year Viveka Deck-Stang, starting in 64th, climbed her way up to a 20th place finish after charging both runs and was followed closely by Vanessa Young who placed 24th.
Perhaps one of the most impressive finishes of the weekend was that of Forrest Savoy who unfortunately DNF’d first run in the GS but was allowed a consolation (training) run after the last racers in the 2nd run and who, after losing his ski on the third gate, skied the entire GS in one ski!!!! Asked Sunday how that leg was feeling, he admitted “it’s pretty tired” but that didn’t keep him from racing all the way through to the finals with his Dual Slalom Team, capturing second place in that team event at the end of the day.
A number of WMSC racers were among the top 3 teams after a very competitive dual slalom day, filled with loud cheering, fast skiing, and the best weather day of the weekend. Congratulations to Heidi Schenk, Forrest Savoy, Jackie Smith, Marlow Parkhill, Alec Waldrum and Alexa Brownlie for making it to the final rounds of this exciting event! Asked what was more tired, the legs or the arms after being towed up the hill by the sled for the last few rounds, most racers answered “hungry!” with a smile.
Hello WMSC athletes, members, & coaches:
We have certainly benefitted from incredible conditions thanks to the recent Arctic outflow. The hill has been in amazing condition for training, racing and free-skiing the pistes. Now as we head into the warmth of spring, our team is right in the middle of ‘March Madness’ with all divisions racing at home and away.
This update is also attached as a PDF, and covers:
Respect in Sport
- U18 – BC Cup FIS races (Whistler, Grouse & Red Mountain)
- U16 – Canada Winter Games (Nakiska) / Western Championships (Panorama) / Parsons speed training & races / Japan Cup (Naeba)
- U16 / U14 Enquist Slalom (Mt. Seymour)
- U14 – Cypress Zone race
- U12 – Tyee Cup (Grouse Mountain)
- U14 Provincials (Purden)
- U12 Skills Comp & Janyk Cup, Sun Peaks NGSL festival & Big White U12 event
- U16 Provincial series round 3 & U18 Apex BC Cup FIS series (Apex)
- U16 FIS races (Tarnaby, SWE)
- Canadian National Championships (Mt Edouard, QC)
Respect in Sport
We are now close to our goal of having every family complete the Respect in Sport Parent Module. Feedback continues to be extremely positive, with many parents writing to thank the Club for incorporating this into our programming, and we will be making the Respect in Sport Parent Module a pre-condition to registration for next year. Many thanks to all for taking the time to complete this.
It’s the time of year when our athletes put their training to the test in races.
The ‘Learn to Race’ phase of the Alpine Canada Long Term Athletic Development Model technically begins in U16; this being the stage that there are accumulated rankings throughout the season, and they start to compete in races that qualify for events such as Canada Winter Games, Team Canada for the Folgaria Cup in Italy, and Team Canada for Whistler Cup.
Those who qualify must then learn to manage the expectations that they put on themselves to get results, and to race against the fastest skiers from elsewhere. Those who do not qualify must learn from their experiences to understand why and continue training to close the gap.
Simply put, racing is a huge learning experience for all athletes, as well as a lot of fun!
For our younger athletes, learning how to maximize a race day is an incredibly important part of the journey. Race day is an exciting time for athletes, coaches, and parents, but inevitably with that excitement comes a huge amount of emotion. Joy, sadness, elation, frustration, euphoria, and disappointment to name but a few.
During races, it is amazing the effect emotions can have on everyone involved; one way or another everyone is exposed. Regardless of what role we play, everyone is trying their best to facilitate a great, fair, safe race, or to convert their best from training to competition and produce a performance they can be happy with.
So how do we manage those emotions?
As coaches, we have a lot of time to think about this standing on the side of a hill waiting to see how our athletes perform. Did I talk about the right line in inspection? Have I provided the right training leading up? Do my athletes have the strength to make the big turns and the fitness to last to the finish?
As parents, we carry the stress of our children, layered with an urge to reach out and help them. Volunteering is a great way to manage this.
Ultimately, it’s too late to change much on the day of the race, so what can an athlete do? In my experience there are 5 simple rules for race day:
- Relax. Get a good night’s sleep, eat well, drink plenty of water and set yourself up for a clear mind.
- Enjoy. It’s what you have been preparing for and what you are here for.
- Believe. Stick to your plan. If you have a clear plan and something to stay focused on throughout the day, you don’t have time to get inside your own head. Have a plan and stick to it.
- Accept. Treat good results and bad results as equals. If you tried your best throughout the preparation, then the result is simply an indicator of what to focus on next. If you get past the emotions, then you can get to a place where you can learn.
- Review. Look back on the day and the preparation to know what you did well and what you would change.
It’s important to enjoy the moment and to remember that there are always more races and more opportunities. Those who prepare the best—plan the best—and give it their all walk away knowing that they did all that they could.
Event Recaps: March madness!
There are a lot of recaps here. Hopefully you will take the time to review the races that each division of our WMSC team have been at.
The one thing that stands out through all of this is the incredible work that volunteers do. The volunteerism across the Province, the Country and the world is incredible. Without you volunteer parents, alumni parents and ski racing fans, there is no ski racing.
Many, many thanks to all of you volunteers for everything that you do!
U18 – BC Cup FIS races (Whistler, Grouse & Red Mountain)
Last month our U18 racers finally got to race at home. The series started with 2 days of slalom in Grouse, followed by 2 SG & 2 GS races on home snow in Whistler. The competition was mostly from BC, Alberta and a few athletes from the US and it was great to see WMSC alumni from the BC team and Canadian development team in action here.
See the full report here 2019-FIS-BC-Cup
Following a short training block the local series was then followed by a red mountain series last week with another 4 races, 2 SL and 2 GS. This gave many athletes the opportunity to take away some learnings from the Whistler races and put them into practice in Red Mountain where most of the team got some good FIS point results in the long climb up the FIS point ladder.
U16 – Canada Winter Games (Nakiska) / Western Championships (Panorama) / Parsons speed training & races / Japan Cup (Naeba)
The U16 team have had an incredibly busy few weeks with a group of 7 athletes racing for BC at the Canada Winter Games, while the rest of the team raced at Westerns in Panorama.
Regardless if racing in Panorama or Nakiska, these were great opportunities for our athletes to race against others form across Western Canada and the whole of Canada for some. An opportunity to measure yourself against others is always a blessing and very often a real motivation to come away and think that ‘with a little more work, I can do that too’.
Following these races, we then had the Parsons Memorial speed training and racing. It was the 40th Anniversary of the Bob Parsons memorial which was started in order to create progressive and safe development of the skills for ‘speed’. Bob Parsons was the father of our own Jim Parsons, Chris Leighton and grandfather of Julian Parsons who were all there this week and we even had Julian Forerunning and Jim (who won the first ever Bob Parsons Downhill) set the SG on Sunday.
At the same time as the Parson’s memorial 4 athletes were accompanied by Richard Jagger to the Japan Cup in Naeba, Japan. WMSC was eligible to send a team as the Naeba Cup is a Japanese invitational event and the qualifier for the team to represent Japan at the Whistler Cup . This being their 20th year they were keen to have a WMSC team, so we received a late invitation to send a team which was selected from the PRS rankings and offered to the next ranked athletes that did not qualify for Canada Winter Games.
U16 / U14 Enquist Slalom (Mt. Seymour)
WMSC had athletes from both U16 and U14 at the Enquist slalom. Not part of either the U14 zone series or the U16 Provincial series, the Enquist slalom is an open event and great race to get some race practice and particularly for the younger athletes it’s a great opportunity to challenge the U16s.
U14 Zone race (Cypress)
Our U14 team had the good fortune to race Cypress in incredible conditions which makes it a truly spectacular place to ski. For them it was only their 2nd zone race series and a long-awaited opportunity to race against the coast zone athletes.
For many athletes it was their first away zone race, and their first race at Cypress. It’s amazing how different the sport can be when you go to another hill. Everything is different from knowing the resort, to where to warm up, knowing the terrain on the race hill and even the snow feels different.
All of this compounds to make a great experience and learning opportunity in the first steps towards the world cup racer when you are away from home for the winter where you learn to perform your best in all conditions racing in different resorts, on different hills, on different snow.
U12 – Tyee Cup (Grouse Mountain)
The U12 team finally got their turn to race at Grouse Mountain. For many athletes their first experience at an away race, for some at any race and those with more experience were there to ‘go for the cup’.
All the team showed their strength and determination with many athletes doing some of their best skiing yet. It is a valuable skill to be able to put the excitement aside, stick to the task and perform when it really counts. A skill that takes many years to develop but an essential skill for our young athletes to be developing (and by all accounts mastering) at this stage in their journey.
U14 Provincials (Purden)
Our U14 team have all made the trek up to Purden for the U14 Provincial series where they will get the chance to compete against athletes from around the Province this weekend.
Again, an opportunity to go somewhere new, feel a different race environment and try out the skills learnt in training. It is these times when the ‘retention’ and ‘transfer’ of skill is are important. To have repeated a skill in as many environments as possible and as much as possible enables you to retain that skill in a new environment and transfer it to a competition environment.
U12 Nancy Greene Skills Event & Janyk Cup, Sun Peaks NGSL festival & Big White U12 event
This weekend sees the U12 team in action at home on the Dave Murray National Training Centre with the Nancy Greene Skills event on Saturday followed by a U12 social at the Club Cabin, and then the Janyk Cup on Sunday.
The Skills event will challenge the foundational skills that make up the complete skier from gliding to skating, short turns to medium to long turns. It is these skills that will serve the athlete well over the next years of their journey and as with any monument, it’s only as strong as the foundation it sits on. This being the reason behind the skills assessments which Nancy Greene had the foresight to make into a league to ensure that generations would keep working on the basic skills that are so essential to develop ski racers like herself.
The Janyk Cup on Sunday will then give the opportunity for the athletes to try out the skills in both a Giant Slalom and a dual Glalom. There will be plenty of space for warming up above the course to remember the drills and technical focus that will create a good feeling to take into the race course.
The U12 team will then take to the road, with some athletes travelling to Sun Peaks for the following weekend and Big White the weekend after that. Both events offering the opportunity to ski new hills, make new friends and get some more races under the skis!
U16 Provincial series round 3 & U18 Apex BC Cup FIS series (Apex)
Our U16 team will head to Apex for the 3rd and final Provincial series of the season, and they will be followed immediately afterwards by some of the U18 athletes who will be there for 2 FIS races.
As we start to head into the second half of the season for our older 2 age groups most athletes have had a few races under their skis, learnt a great deal from their races, put it back into training to find another gear and are now ready to go again.
Ski racing, like any sport is a roller-coaster ride for athletes with successes and failures, trials and tribulations, but everyone is rewarded with the chance to kick out the start gate and race down the mountain!
U16 FIS races (Tarnaby, SWE)
The Whistler Mountain Ski Club have been given permission from Alpine Canada to send a team to the Swedish Children’s FIS race in Tarnaby, Sweden which is similar to the Whistler Cup. The race is called the Ingmartrophen, named after Ingmar Stenmark and will be raced on the Ingmar backen (slope) and Anja backen named after Ingmar Stenmark and Anja Paerson, two legends of our sport.
This is a great opportunity for the athletes who get the chance and athletes will be offered the chance to take part based on the Apex Provincial series which offers athletes the opportunity to compete for places based on their current form.
Canadian National Championships (Mt Edouard, QC)
The U18 team will again split with some athletes heading across to Quebec for the Canadian National Championships. This race presents a great opportunity for these 7 athletes to compete against not only their U18 counterparts from across Canada, but also against the athletes from the University, Provincial and National teams fresh from the Nor-Am and World Cup finals.
While many of these athletes are tired from long hard seasons on the road racing, it is a great opportunity for younger athletes who are building their program with FIS races interspersed with training to pit themselves against the best in the Country.
Best of luck to all of our teams over the next weeks!
I hope to see you all on the snow or in the Club Cabin soon!
Whistler Mountain Ski Club
Whistler Mountain Ski Club’s racers finished the Western Canadian Ski Cross Series season in overall top-three positions, including two wins. After the final event of the season at Big White, Jack MacDonald topped the U18 division while Jack Morrow was third, and Nick Katrusiak won the U16 crown.
MacDonald pulled off a win in Saturday’s race before taking sixth on Sunday to help him clinch the overall title. “This one was definitely a bit difficult because I hadn’t been on skis for a while, but I pulled through, so it felt really good to get (the overall title) at the end,” he said. Notably, several more experienced racers from the Alberta Ski Cross team were in attendance, so MacDonald was pleased to still come away with strong results, especially after racing against several of them in NorAm Cup action at Calabogie Peaks, Ont. It was a really cool experience racing them again because I did get to race with them earlier in the season in the NorAm races. I was testing how much I’ve improved over the whole year,” he said. “It was fun competing with them and eventually finding success in the last few races.”
In both the final race at NorAms, where he placed seventh against Chinese, Australian, American and Canadian development team racers, and in recent events, MacDonald said he’s become better at tackling larger courses that he’s more likely to see in the future. “I improved a lot in moving over the features because before this season, I hadn’t had a lot of experience racing on bigger courses with a lot more features, especially out of the start,” he said.
Morrow, meanwhile, overcame illness to perform well, taking second on Saturday and seventh on Sunday. “There were some really good highlights from every race. I had development in every single race,” he said. “This last race, it was the first race where I beat some of the older guys who had been beating me all year, so that was some good development to see there.” Morrow was particularly pleased to get the overall award, considering he attended four of the six events this year, and in one of those, he earned no points.
In the U16 category, Katrusiak took a win on Saturday and a fifth-place on Sunday to put an exclamation point on the overall title, which is all the more impressive given that he is young enough to return to U16 next season. “It was pretty rewarding,” he said. “Going into the season, I had no real expectations other than to have fun doing ski-cross. I knew going into Big White that I was guaranteed the win, but it was still pretty amazing.” In one race in Fernie, Katrusiak raced against not only fellow U16 racers, but U18 competitors as well. He felt it was a good experience and helped to focus his efforts. “I definitely raced a lot of people that are better than me, a lot of older people, and they really put a lot of pressure on me, “ he said. “It’s always good to race against people that are better than you. It’s good practice.”
While Katrusiak hopes to work on his strength and endurance this summer, racing the older athletes encouraged him to work on his craftiness for now. “I knew that they were stronger and I knew that the only way I would beat them is if I was nimble and I snuck through them. I knew I wasn’t going to win out of the start because I knew that because of my lack of strength compared to the, they had a better pull out of the gate,” he said.