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A year spent building towards Sochi

A look back at 2013's memorable moments in Whistler and Pemberton sports

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FALL

Believe it or not, there were some notable sports moments in that vast wasteland of athletic activity known as "October" around here in Whistler, that awkward time between seasons. An example of this came from Matt Ryan, who won the Lumpy's Epic Time Trial race up in Pemberton early in the month. Fanny Paquette was the fastest female in the event that was revived in 2012.

Pemberton stable Dreamcatcher Meadows once again secured several awards throughout the year, but one of its most notable came in autumn when it was selected as the U.S. Dressage Federation's Dressage Sport Horse Breeder of the Year, recognizing the facility as the best in North America.

As the snow started to settle in, many of Whistler's Olympic-level athletes began their push towards Sochi with great success. Marielle Thompson and Dave Duncan had incredible starts to their World Cup ski cross seasons with multiple podium finishes. Thompson won the season-opener at Nakiska, Alta., and earned a silver-medal finish at San Candido, Italy in December. The 2012 Crystal Globe winner finished in the top five of all races held in the month. Duncan, meanwhile, won both races in a back-to-back event at San Candido, the first World Cup wins of his career. Both Thompson and Duncan sat atop the season standings as the calendar flipped to 2014.

In alpine competition, the Canadian men's speed team had a few statements to make during the start to their season, as Whistler-trained skier Manuel Osborne-Paradis and teammates Erik Guay and Jan Hudec all had at least a top-four finish — and their Olympic qualifications — in the bag by Christmas. Osborne-Paradis was fourth at the downhill in Beaver Creek, Colo., and Hudec earned a super-G silver at Val Gardena, Italy in December. But the biggest statement belonged to Guay, who hit the podium in the year's last two downhill races to establish Canada's new all-time mark of World Cup medals at 21. Morgan Pridy earned the first World Cup points of his career in the Beaver Creek super-G held earlier in the month, and fellow local Robbie Dixon made his return to the circuit after missing all of the previous season to injury.

In the biggest event hosted in resort this fall, the Canadian luge team had a strong performance during World Cup races held at the Whistler Sliding Centre, capturing a pair of silver medals. Alex Gough secured second place behind world champion Natalie Geisenberger of Germany on the afternoon of Dec. 7, then joined teammates Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith for a runner-up finish in relay.

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