Nanaimos Allison Forsyth, a Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus, is coming back to Whistler this week in search of her record sixth straight national giant slalom title.
"Others expect me to win the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships, and frankly, so do I," said the 23-year-old. "Its important for me to be called a Canadian champion."
Forsyth won the junior and senior womens GS title for the first time in 1997, and is heavily favoured to win again this year.
The competition will be fierce. World Cup Rookie of the Year Genevieve Simard and Whistlers Britt Janyk, the Europa Cup GS champion, are also gunning for the GS title. Simard was third in a World Cup GS this past winter.
Said Janyk, "Im feeling confident about all of the events, but what Im really excited bout is racing at home. I grew up bombing down the Dave Murray Downhill and now I get to race down it in the Canadian championships."
On the mens side, Jean-Philippe Roy of Ste-Flavie, Quebec, hopes to defend his national slalom and giant slalom titles, although Thomas Grandi, who spent most of last season on the comeback trail after a knee injury, may have other ideas.
Members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team not only have to face one another in Whistler, but strong competition from the development ski team, provincial teams and the top clubs in Canada. Upsets do happen, especially when $50,000 in prize money is up for grabs as well as bragging rights for an entire year.
Some of the Whistler skiers to watch out for this week and next include Christina Risler, who won the super G bronze medal last year, and Jeff Hume, a member of the national development team who will be hard to beat in the speed events. With downhill training days being cancelled earlier this week due to an excess of snow and poor visibility, it could go to anyone.
The Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships are scheduled to start with the downhill on March 14 and run until the slalom on March 20. A daily awards ceremony will be held at the Pontiac GMC Snow Show Stage in the village at 4 p.m.
Mar. 11 to 13
Mens FIS Downhill
Womens Canadian Championship Downhill
Womens FIS Downhill
Mens Canadian Championship Downhill
Canadian Championship Super G, Men and Women
Provincial Dual Slalom
Canadian Championship Giant Slalom, Women
Canadian Championship GS, Men
Canadian Championship Slalom, Women
Canadian Championship Slalom, Men