Making their debut in the giant slalom at Grouse Mountain last weekend, the K1 racers (age 11 and 12) from the Whistler Mountain Ski Club excelled against tough competition from the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island and Washington State, earning several podiums over two days of racing. More than 50 girls and 110 boys turned out to the races.
"We performed really well," says K1 head coach Sead Causevic, who has been with the WMSC since he was a K1 himself. "In a lot of the races Whistler grabbed 10 out of the top 15 spots, which is pretty amazing. We are a bigger club but we have more top level athletes.
"Having that many kids on the team brings the level of competition up without the coaches doing anything, they push themselves and they push each other. I think the level of coaching staff is higher, and of course it always helps that we have a bigger mountain."
Causevic believes that the WMSC will probably field about 10 athletes at the B.C. Games in February based on their results at Grouse, which was a qualifier event. The selection hasnt been finalized, but hes confident in naming two of the clubs top athletes.
"Morgan Pridy from Whistler was just amazing. He was younger that most of the other kids he was competing against, but he has the nicest touch on snow, and knows how to go fast," Causevic says.
"Alison Matasi is another sure thing. Shes probably the most aggressive person out there on the mountain, and thats what puts her in the running at every race."
In the first GS on Saturday morning (Jan. 12), Georgia Simmerling of the Grouse Mountain Tyees took the top spot, with WMSC skiers Alison Matasi and Katrina Dekur hot on her heels to take second and third. The other Whistler skiers captured another nine out of the top 15 positions, led by Christina Disler in sixth. Deborah Bayliss and Sarah Marshall were seventh and eighth, and Carolyn Caldwell, Kirsten Dekur, Victoria Whitney, Emily Higgins, Elizabeth Parry and Brittany McGovern were 10 th through 15 th respectively.
In the mens race, gold and silver went to Yannick Berther and Reece Allawatt of the Alpental ski club in Washington state. Whistler skier Morgan Pridy was third, followed by WMSC club members Kyle Coxon, North Jones, and Kieran Cormack in fourth, fifth and sixth. Sam Gibson and Hamish Davidson of Whistler were 12 th and 13 th .
That afternoon, the womens podium was identical with Simmerling in first, and Matasi and Dekur of the WMSC in second and third. And once again Whistler skiers captured nine of the remaining 12 spots in the top 15, led once more by Christina Disler. Sarah Marshall was fifth for the club, Deborah Bayliss seventh, Elizabeth Parry 10 th , Emily Higgins 11 th , Carolyn Caldwell 12 th , Kirsten Dekur 13 th , Catherine Rose 14 th , and Hattie Guadagnuolo 15 th .
Berther and Allawatt of the Alpental team took gold and silver in the afternoon, while Whistlers Kieran Cormack stepped up to win bronze. Morgan Pridy and Kyle Coxon were fourth and fifth for the WMSC, Scott Harrison was seventh, Sam Gibson ninth, and Ben MacLean, North Jones and Paul Wheeler were 12 th to 14 th .
In the third GS on the following day, the top four spots went to Whistler. Alison Matasi led the charge with a time of 58.37. Katrina Edkur, Jennifer Mah and Christina Disler were second, third and fourth for the team. Deborah Bayliss was sixth, Elizabeth Parry eighth, Sarah Marshall ninth, Meriel Gibson 10 th , Emily Higgins 11 th , Kristen Dekur 13 th , Marayna Shuker 14 th and Carolyn Caldwell 15 th , giving Whistler 12 of the top 15 positions.
The Whistler men missed the podium for the first time that weekend, with Alpental racers taking the top three spots. Morgan Pridy was the top Whistler skier in fourth place. Scott Harrison was eighth, Kyle Coxon 10 th , North Jones 12 th and Kieran Cormack 14 th for the WMSC.
The next test for the K1 team is a speed camp on Blackcomb from Jan. 25 to 27.
"Its a safe opportunity for the kids to go really fast," said Causevic. "The Blackcomb groomers are going to provide us with some challenging terrain, some rollers and jumps, and were going to expose the kids to a higher level of racing, build their confidence up."