The K2 provincials took place at Apex Mountain over four days last week, with some 154 skiers from clubs across B.C. taking part. The Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) did well in both giant slalom and slalom races and came away with 14 out of 24 podiums — and as a result should be well-represented on Team Canada at the annual Whistler Cup international ski races in April.
In the opening giant slalom on Thursday, the WMSC's Mikayla Martin was second in the girl's race, just nine one-hundredths of a second back of first place finisher Meg Cumming of Apex, who took the gold. Ella Alfonso of Big White was third. Also finishing in the top 15 for the WMSC were Gabrielle Smith, Amelia Smith and Anna Yamaoka in 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.
In the boy's event, James Crawford — a new member of the WMSC from Ontario — placed second overall, between Sam Mulligan of Grouse and Alex Roehrig of Big White. Other Whistler skiers in the top 15 were Cameron Alexander in sixth, Alex Uryga in 10th and Cooper Yates in 12th.
The team started to gain momentum the next day in the second GS on Friday, with the WMSC women sweeping the podium. Mikayla Martin won gold, Stefanie Fleckenstein — 16th on day one — earned a silver and Esme McTavish came away with the bronze. Cheyenne Ling was fourth for the WMSC, with Laura Swaffield in ninth, Gabrielle Smith 14th and Jasmin Smallwood 15th.
The boys' bid at a sweep was scuttled by Grouse Mountain's Sam Mulligan, who picked up his second gold medal. From the WMSC, James Crawford was second, Cameron Alexander third, Max Peiffer fourth, Jeffrey Cadman ninth, Alex Gershon 10th, Cooper Yates 11th and Max Kirshenblatt 12th.
The slalom races got underway on Saturday. Stefanie Fleckenstein moved up to first place while Martin dropped to third, with Meg Cumming of Apex winning the silver. Laura Swaffield was 11th.
Sam Mulligan made it a hattrick with a win on the boys' side, with Alex Uryga winning silver for the WMSC. Ryan Moffat of Big White took the bronze, ahead of the WMSC's Alex Gershon in fourth. Other Whistler skiers in the top 15 were Jeffrey Cadman in sixth, Max Peiffer in ninth, Riley Seger in 10th, Charlie Tuer in 13th, Antoine Carignan-Turcotte in 14th and James Crawford in 15th.
Stefanie Fleckenstein won her second consecutive gold medal on Sunday, while Mikayla Martin made the podium in every race with a silver medal. Courtney Hoffos of Windermere was third. In the top 15 was Laura Swaffield in 11th and Cheyenne Ling in 13th.
In the men's race it was Sam Mulligan once again on top, followed by Whistler's Riley Seger and Alex Gershon. Carson Llewellyn was seventh, Max Peiffer 12th and Jeffrey Cadman 14th.
The racers were practicing a technique called Progressive Muscle Relaxation before races, along with breathing exercises to help their brains relax and focus.
"It's not just hocus pocus," said head coach Jeff MacLennan. "Every racer achieved a personal best and I'm very happy with their performances."
— With files from Agnes Finan
Next Up: Teck's Parsons Race
One of the longest running alpine race series in Whistler is the Parsons. Although its seen venues, names and formats change over the years, its purpose has remained the same — to prepare ski racers for downhill and super G speed events in a safe environment.
Bob Parsons organized the Back Bowl Downhill races for years, and after his death in 1979 the event was renamed the Bob Parsons Memorial Downhill. Family members still remain involved in the event more than 30 years later.
The weekend, Feb. 16 to Feb. 19, will be comprised of two days of course training, followed by three timed runs of the super G course on Saturday and Sunday. The course will be in the Dave Murray National Training Centre, formerly the Ptarmigan run on Whistler Mountain.
Local skiers on top at North Face Park and Pipe Open
With the top freeskiers at the Dew Tour, the North Face Park and Pipe Open at Northstar, California was an opportunity for up and coming skiers to have their shot at the spotlight.
Pemberton's Yuki Tsubota walked away from the second event in the North Face Park and Pipe Open Series in Northstar, California with a win the slopestyle event. Whistler's Cassandra Sharpe also tied for first in the halfpipe competition.
Tsubota was the top female on the rail features, and the only female competitor to land a left-side cork 720. She won the category with a score of 87.2, over six points ahead of the next competitor.
Sharpe distinguished herself with a right-side flair, the only inverted trick attempted or landed at the contest by a female skier. Maggie Stout of Ontario was second.
Both local skiers earned $2,000 for their results, plus AFP tour points that can be used to gain entry into top tier events like the upcoming AFP world championships.