Whistler skiers rose to the challenge to defend their home turf in the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships last week, making the most of conditions that only a local could appreciate. Britt Janyk earned two national titles, downhill and super G, Michael Janyk earned another slalom title, and Alison Leighton, who is with the B.C. Team, nudged her way past members of the national and development teams to climb the super G podium behind Britt. Leighton also claimed the overall Pontiac Cup title.
The races took place from March 20 to 28 with a constantly changing schedule to accommodate fog, snow, rain, icy snow, soft snow – the full gamut of weather conditions that Whistler goes through in a year.
With some incredibly hard work by Whistler-Blackcomb and the Weasel Workers, organizers did manage to hold most events as planned and crown national champions in four disciplines.
Technical skier rules speed events
Britt Janyk is a member of the national technical team, and mostly competes in giant slalom and slalom events on the World Cup circuit. Now and then, when there’s an opening in a Europa Cup competition, she’ll pop on her downhill skis and let it all hang out – and always does surprisingly well.
After just one downhill training run, which she won, Janyk blew the competition away on a shortened Dave Murray Downhill course on March 23.
She was joined on the podium by Calgary’s Shona Rubens in second and Danielle Poschuk of Fernie.
Other Whistler skiers included Danielle Robson in 13 th , Leighton in 14 th , Jillian McArthur in 21 st and Julia Murray in 23 rd .
It was Janyk’s seventh national title, and first title in a downhill event. But while the downhill win was unusual for her, it wasn’t her only gold in a speed event.
Three days later she was back on top of the podium with another dominating performance in the super G. Leighton from the B.C. Ski Team, a Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus, finished second, while Marie-Michelle Belanger-Timothy of the Quebec team claimed the bronze medal.
Other Whistler skiers were Julia Murray 25 th , Jillian McArthur 26 th , Shannon Smith 33 rd and Elizabeth Parry 35 th .
Despite her success in the speed events, Janyk says she’s not planning on ditching the technical skis just yet.
"I wanted to do well in the technical events, so it was a nice surprise to do well in the speed events, a nice bonus," said Janyk. "As for racing more speed events, we shall see. What I took away from that was going all out in touch conditions and tough courses, and still doing well. It gives me a lot of confidence for next year.