U16's Survive Westerns Frigid Conditions
Teck U16 Westerns Championships at Panorama Mountain Resort
Race Report by Laura and Hubert Lai
Photos by Dee Dee Lai
Last weekend, the 2019 Westerns Championships were hosted at Panorama Mountain Resort by the Windermere Valley Ski Club. As always, thanks are due to the organizers, coaches, and volunteers for their hard work putting together a great event. Huge thanks are also due to Teck for sponsoring this exciting race series.
The event took place over the course of 3 days, with the team dual slalom on Friday, March 1, the giant slalom on Saturday, March 2, and the slalom on Sunday, March 3.
Windermere did a great job with the events, even in the face of very difficult conditions. Morning temperatures were in the range of -30 to -25 degrees Celsius. Even in the afternoons, the temperatures were only slightly less frigid, with the daytime highs never making it above -15 until late on Sunday.
On the bright side, the consistently low temperatures produced excellent racing conditions, with firm, consistent courses for the athletes.
In total, 70 women and 63 men took part as U16 athletes. The Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) was represented by 7 women and 6 men in the field.
Team Dual Slalom (Friday):
The team dual slalom was a lot of fun for the athletes. The organizers assembled teams of 4 racers, with each team made up of 2 racers from Alberta clubs and 2 racers from B.C. clubs. This gave the athletes a great chance to mix, mingle, and enjoy the company of fellow racers from all over the West as they worked their way through the elimination tree. Each team was named in honour of a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team. At the end of the day, Ali Nullmeyer’s team took first place, with Christina Lustenberger’s team in second and Stephanie Gartner’s team in third. WMSC was represented by Mats Bosinger on Christina Lustenberger’s team and by Johnny Nicolls on Stephanie Gartner’s team.
Women’s Giant Slalom (Saturday):
On Saturday, Panorama athletes Jamie Verhun and Sarah Shephard showed everyone else the way down their home course, taking the top two podium places in the women’s giant slalom. Jasper athlete, Skylar Shepherd, rounded out the podium in third. In a very competitive field, WMSC athletes were shut out of the top 10, with Isabella Cross and Dee Dee Lai producing the best finishes for the club in 28th and 31st, respectively.
Men’s Giant Slalom (Saturday):
The Panorama men were not able to replicate the results of their women teammates. The top place on the men’s podium went to Kananaskis athlete, Gered Thompson. Grouse athlete, Dylan Stevens, took second place and Sunshine athlete, Nathan Sylvestre, rounded out the podium. Three WMSC men achieved top 10 results: Johnny Nicolls in 6th; Sam Fuller in 7th, and Sascha Gilbert in 10th.
Women’s Slalom (Sunday):
Sunday’s slalom course was tough, with only 52 of the 70 starters managing to set times. Calgary Alpine athlete, Sara Paradis, jumped to the top of the podium, ahead of Panorama athletes, Jamie Verhun in 2nd and Sarah Shephard in 3rd. Despite the tough course, all of the WMSC women completed the course successfully, with two of them making it into the top 10: Isabella Cross in 5thand Meagan Doiron in 6th.
Men’s Slalom (Sunday):
The men had an equally tough time with the slalom course, with only 44 of the 63 starters managing to set times. The top place on the men’s podium went to Calgary Alpine athlete, Thomas Binley-Ewing. Kananaskis athlete, Cody Goddard took second place and Snow Valley athlete, Bredy Shears, rounded out the podium. Three WMSC men achieved top 10 results: Johnny Nicolls in 6th; Hayden Harley in 8th; and Duncan Ross in 9th.