Ken Read, the president of Alpine Canada Alpin stood near the back of the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup awards ceremony on Sunday, smiling as the days medals were presented.
As the head of alpine racing in Canada, Read takes a special interest in the next generation of skiers. If the results from the Whistler Cup are any indication things are looking good Canadian made 23 top-15 results, plus three podiums. One racer, Richard Long of Collingwood, Ontario, made event history by becoming the first Canadian to win two gold medals in the Whistler Cup.
"We always watch this event closely because this is where the next generation of World Cup skiers is going to come from," said Read.
"This year we got more involved in the Whistler Cup by hosting a national training camp for some of the skiers. We cant take credit for the results, obviously the kids are getting some good training with their clubs, but we hope it helped them in some way, maybe gave them a little boost before the race. Its something we believe there is value in, and well be offering it every year."
Some of Canadas top results were from skiers who were named to Team Canada and participated in the Iris Team Canada Selection Camp. The camp was held in Whistler, with national team skiers like Allison Forsyth, Jeff Hume and Britt Janyk, as well as national team coaches Mark Sharp, Matt Kerr, Rob Boyd and Dave Ellis.
Some 350 skiers representing 17 nations took part in the 13 th annual Whistler Cup. Although the opening K2 (age 13-14) super G was cancelled after 43 cm of new snow fell on the course for Friday morning, organizers and volunteers put in a huge amount of work to clear the course of new snow on Saturday and Sunday to get the slalom and giant slalom events off the ground.
For the second year the Norwegian team claimed the overall K1 and K2 titles, as well as the overall team trophy for the third straight year, with athletes on the podium in every event.
But if Norway was the dominant team, then the Canadians were the biggest surprise of the weekend, claiming three medals and several top-10 results. Last year the Canadians cracked the top-10, but with no podium finishes.
Day One Results
Saturdays races got off to a late start with another 20 cm of snow on the trails, but in the end organizers were able to give close to 350 K1s and K2s a race course.
In the K1 (age 11-12) giant slalom, Richard Long of the Georgian Peaks Ski Club in Ontario placed first out of 86 starters with a time of 53.13 seconds, just 0.06 seconds ahead of Emrick Marafico of Italy. Shinya Miyamoto of Japan was third in 53.34.