The B.C. Ski Team has added another Whistler coach to its staff, announcing last week that Ryan Jazic will be taking over the reins of the women's squad.
Jazic, who has spent the past several seasons at the helm of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club's FIS-level program, will be replacing J.P. Daigneault as head coach of the women's team for the 2014-15 season.
"I am very excited about taking a new role to better myself as a coach," Jazic said in a release. "It's a great team and staff and an opportunity to grow as a professional coach."
Whistler's Nick Cooper is already the head coach of the men's team, working under Johnny Crichton, who oversees the entire B.C. team program.
The team's coaches are currently leading the B.C. Alpine Talent ID camp in Whistler, which will continue until Saturday, April 20.
THOMPSON WINS ANOTHER TITLE
Marielle Thompson added another title to top off her amazing season by winning the women's race of the Sport Chek Canadian Ski Cross Championships at Banff's Sunshine Village on April 11.
The Olympic gold medallist claimed her third national title despite skiing with a busted thumb, reaching out with the injured hand to edge Georgia Simmerling for the victory in a photo finish.
"I won by the length of a broken thumb," Thompson said in a release. "I guess you don't need thumbs for racing!"
The World Cup season champ crashed in training and tore a ligament in her thumb before the race got underway.
"I put a big Olympic mitten on it," said the Whistler skier, who couldn't fit into her regular race glove. "I don't want to sound conceited, but I know I'm pretty tough. I can handle a little pain — it's all good."
Cranbrook's India Sherret finished third.
In the men's event, World Cup racer skier Tristan Tafel beat out up-and-comers Matt Brady and Kevin MacDonald after Brady Leman went off course in the final.
"We all had a really good start and it was extremely tight going into the first turn," said Tafel. "That's where I took the lead and kept it all the way down. The young guys were skiing right on my tail at the finish — good for them."
SKIERS STRONG AT CYPRESS SEASON FINALE
The alpine ski racing season officially closed for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club's athletes over the weekend, when Cypress Mountain hosted the B.C. Alpine Teck Coast Zone finals April 12 and 13.
The Whistler club swept the top six boys' U16 positions in both the April 12 giant slalom and April 13 slalom. Asher Jordan, Griffin Renzoni and Finn Iles were the podium finishers, in order, for the GS, followed respectively by Griffin Smith, Kasper Woolley, and Masashi Tsutsumi. It was Renzoni's turn to top the podium in slalom, while Iles took silver and Smith earned bronze. Woolley and Tsutsumi both matched their results from GS. Kyle Alexander, Ciaran Beveridge and Nikola Filipovic each earned one top-10 result at Cyrpess.
Katie Fleckenstein led Whistler's U16 girls, earning a bronze in slalom to follow her sixth-place result in GS. Laura Swaffield was the only other skier from the club to reach the top 10 in both races. Gabrielle Smith captured a silver in slalom, while Mollie Jepsen, Lucy Turner and Tamara Smallwood all made top-10 appearances.
Maja Woolley won both U14 girls' races, leading a Whistler podium sweep in GS, in which Meg Swaffield finished second and Sierra King was third. Kristen Kranjc and Arabella Ng each earned two top-10 results, and Lucy Tuer was 10th in GS.
Myles Kowalczyk landed on the U14 boys' podium both days, grabbing gold in slalom and bronze in GS. Jack Forsyth, with a GS win, and Ethan McTavish, with a slalom silver, each collected medals of their own. Whistler's Jake Bennett, Nathan Romanin, Dawson Yates and Jack Cormack each had at least one top-10 finish.
At the boys' U12 level, Whistler skier Ethan Shandro skied to first place in GS and a runner-up result in slalom. He shared the GS podium with clubmate Alexander Katrusiak, the silver medallist in GS, and with Skylar Beauregard, the bronze-medal winner in slalom. David Lee, Jack Morrow, Jackson Ferguson and Curtis Jepsen each had top-10 finishes to their credit as well.
Una Brudar, meanwhile, led Whistler's U12 girls by claiming silver in both disciplines. Freya Jumonville, Tara Brudar and Vera Bulowski all had a pair of top-10 results.
The Whistler Mountain Ski Club will be handing out its awards for the season during a year-end barbecue at the Creekside clubhouse on Saturday, April 19.
BIKE PARK PASSES ON SALE BEFORE MAY 16 OPENING
Passes for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park are now on sale, with opening day only about a month away.
A limited number of early-bird season passes went on sale Monday, April 14, which allow unlimited riding in the lift-accessed downhill park between the first day of operations on May 16 and closing day on Oct. 13.
Early-bird Twilight passes and triple-play cards are also now available for purchase, and the facility has introduced a new pass this summer for children aged five to 12.
Extended play riding (from 5 to 8 p.m.) will also be offered on Mondays and Wednesdays from May 16 to June 13, and every evening after that until Sept. 1.
Meanwhile, Whistler Blackcomb has doubled the size of its fleet of mini excavators, which is helping bike park manager Brian Finestone's crew to get as many trails as possible ready for opening day.
"The snowpack below 900 metres is melting rapidly, which means our guests can look forward to lots of open trails for the Whistler Mountain Bike Park's opening day on May 16," Finestone said in a release.