By Andrew Mitchell
With dozens upon dozens of Whistler athletes occupied with the snowboard nationals, Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships, K1 provincials and K2 nationals over this past weekend, organizers were astonished when 115 athletes turned out to the second Atomic Ski and Snowboard Cross of the season this past weekend.
The turnout was particularly strong for skiers, coinciding, if not coincidental, with the recent announcement that skicross would be included in the 2010 Olympic Winter Games.
In Ski Boys 13 and Under, the field was sold out with 32 athletes in the gate. WMSC racer Daniel Kwong took first place, followed by Blake Newton, Sam Atkins and Nicholas Geddes. Colin Westeinde won the small final to finish fifth, followed by Daltoan Pehota, Alexander Geddes, and Andrew Calvert Jones.
Rachel Vandeveen won the Ski Girls 13 and Under races hands down, followed by Kelly Steeves, Jessica Lee and Cheyenee Ling. Elena Westeinde took the small final, followed by More Okamoto, Maia Kerr and Elizabeth Kepl.
In Snowboard 13 and Under, only four athletes took part. Zach Astle placed first, followed by Oscar Kirkwood, Georgia Astle, and Alex Macphail.
In Snowboard Open 14 to 16, Ryan Espiritu placed first in all three rounds of racing, followed by Chase Harley and Chris Henderson.
In Ski Boys 14 to 16, Tyler Allison placed first, followed by Aiden Lee, Laris Lee and Nicholas Sun. Brian Messer won the small final, followed by Fraser McGaw and Mark Burrill.
In Snowboard Men 17 and Over, Jamie May placed first, followed by Liam Walsh, Harold Woolnough and Neal Strobel. Craig Watson was fifth, trailed by Mike Raddatz, Brian Gerrard, and Alex Walford.
Ski Men 17 and Over was a tough category, with Alexander Matheson edging out Whistler Mountain Ski Club coach Sead Causevic for first place, and Michael Stahl and Jean Francois Bernier in third and fourth. Tory Saarinen placed first in the small final, followed by Dar Hicks, Martin Allard and Carl Gabrielsson.
Alyssa Wilson placed first in Ski Women 17 and Over, followed by Andra Nedelcu, Brittany Cameron and Karaina Laven. Jessica Hurford was fifth.
Clare Smith was first in Snowboard Women 17 and Over, follow by Mary Ann Graebling, Jacquelyn Smith and Carle Brenneman. Evelyne Parades was fifth.
Ski Girls 14 to 16 went to Katherin Keegan, followed by Paige Keith, Tara Russell and Laura MacDonald. Miranda Lee was fifth.
The next event on the calendar is the Whistler Blackcomb Park Rider halfpipe event on April 10 on Blackcomb. You can register in advance at any Guest Relations desk and save $5, or on the day of the event in the Rendezvous Lodge until 9:45 a.m. The contest will provide a good training opportunity for the World Skiing Invitational Superpipe held the following week as part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival.