The addition of ski cross into the Olympic calendar has spurred a lot of interest in the sport in Whistler, with huge turnouts posted at recent local ski and snowboardcross events hosted by Whistler Blackcomb.
Last weekend's races defied all expectations, however, with over 150 participants and huge turnouts in the younger age groups. In fact, organizers had to cap the number of entries in some categories at 32 to give the events crew enough time to run through all the heats on Sunday.
In Ski Girls 10 and Under Katie Fleckenstein won all four heats to take the win. She was followed by Kristina Natalenko, Anna Gosney and Nicole Mah. Erin Finan won the small final competition to place fifth.
The Ski Boys 10 and Under category was completely sold out with 32 racers in the first of five rounds on Sunday. Finn Iles won every run on his way to first place. Kyle Alexander was second, Kasper Woolley third and Benjamin McMaster fourth. Stirling Anderson won the small final.
Chantal Deane topped Ski Girls 11-13, followed by Mikayla Martin, Cassidy Deane and Siobhan Finan. Stefanie Fleckenstein was fifth.
Ski Boys 11-13 was also sold out. Cameron Alexander took the category ahead of Jack Iles, with Alex Gershon placing third and Max Pfeifer fourth. Cooper Yates won the small final and fifth place.
Because of demand the organizers created a few overflow categories, with racers making three runs in a scored format. Lucy Tuer won the Overflow Girls Ski 10 and Under category, Myles Kowalczyk won Overflow Ski Boys 10 and Under and Levi Keay won Overflow Boys 11-13.
In Ski Male 14-16 the win went to Blake Newton, followed by Rowdy Reeves, Dimitri Djuricic and Jacob Lepine. Alexander Geddes was fifth.
Curtis Koepke topped Ski Male 17 and Over, followed by Steven Maclean, Ryan Moon and Stephen McCluskey. Kohki Ozawa was fifth.
There were three skiers in Ski Girls 14-16. Camilla Loughlin won all three rounds to take the title, followed by Tori Smallwood and Zoe Pinczower.
In Snowboard Girls 13 and Under Kaila Lafreniere placed first and Jennifer Lafreniere second.
Dakota Newman placed first in Snowboard Boys 14-16, followed by Sebastian Judge and Ryan Johnson.
Maiko Hayashi won the Snowboard Female 17 and Over category, followed by Beth Chiasson, Stephanie Johnston and Carrie Hall. Kitrina Hrbinic won the small final.
Tristan Walls won Snowboard Male 17 and Over, followed by Steve Toulch, Geoff Wall and Jordan Demeulemeester. Timothy Wilson was fifth.
There are two Whistler Blackcomb Ski and Snowboard Cross events on the calendar this year, presented by Powerade. The next contest is March 13-14.
As usual the first day is for practice and time trials on Saturday, with the brackets getting underway following another practice session on Sunday morning. Participants can save $9 by signing up in advance, with the price going from $36 to $45 on event day.
Early registration is also a good way to ensure that athletes get a spot, especially in the younger ski categories.