As a testament to just how good the Whistler Weasel Workers really are, organizers have so far been successful in getting off most of the events scheduled for the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships this week, despite rain, fog and more than 50 cm falling on the resort in the past week. Some training runs were cancelled, along with the women’s super combined race, but mostly the event unfolded as well as could be expected.
The Whistler component of the national championships includes the men’s and women’s speed and combined events, with the technical events taking place in Quebec later in the season. The speed events were moved up to give athletes a chance to race the Olympic runs before the World Cup comes to town next week, but that plan backfired when a schedule change on the World Cup circuit kept the women’s speed team and men’s technical team in Europe.
The first event held was the downhill. Larisa Yurkiw of Ontario placed first by more than a second over Emilie Desforges of Quebec. Third went to Danielle Poleschuk of Alberta.
Yurkiw is leading the Nor Am Cup overall standings, and was looking for a strong performance at the nationals.
“To win a race is great wherever you are, but at nationals, here in Whistler on the Olympic track, it’s the best feeling,” she said.
“All of the Whistler Weasel Workers and course crew did an amazing job considering the snowfall that they have had to deal with over the last few days. The track was really consistent and the conditions overall were great.”
Whistler’s Calindy Ramsden represented the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, placing 26 th .
On the men’s side it was all national team, with Calgary’s John Kucera placing first, followed Erik Guay and Manuel-Osborne Paradis. Whistler’s Robbie Dixon, in his rookie season with the team, placed fourth.
“I came out here knowing I have a chance to win the super G and downhill titles,” said Kucera. “I am gunning for each of those and now with the super combined, I’m gunning for that one as well.”
Whistler skiers were Stanislas Rey in 22 nd , Conrad Pridy in 24 th , Morgan Pridy in 29 th , Alexander Binks in 50 th and Ben MacLean in 55 th .
Kucera did what he pledged to do and took the men’s super G title, edging out Guay by two hundredths of a second. Craig Branch of Australia nabbed the third spot. Robbie Dixon was fifth.
From the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, Morgan Pridy was 22 nd , Stanislas Rey 29 th , Scott Hume 33 rd , and Alexander Binks 43 rd .
Kurcera made it a hat trick with another win in the men’s super combined, one super G run and one slalom run, followed by Brady Leman of the development team and Kevin Francis of the U.S.
“I had a great race,” said Kucera. “It’s always nice to get a title when you are racing against the best in Canada. For me being a national champion is a pride thing.”
Other members of the national team failed to complete both runs.