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Local skiers solid in season's first races

Sports briefs: Harvey, Kershaw on Tour de Ski podium; Jones makes Olympic luge team



Whistler Mountain Ski Club athletes collected 20 of a possible 24 medals when hosting the first Teck Coast Zone U16 and U14 races of the season at the Dave Murray National Training Centre on Dec. 21 and 22.

Max Kirshenblatt led the way for the U16 boys by winning both the Dec. 21 GS and the Dec. 22 slalom.

"I was excited and nervous, but I knew that if I skied confidently and kept focus, the result would be positive," said Kirshenblatt. "It's going to be a fun, exciting year with the new guys coming up."

It was a Whistler sweep of the podium both days — Asher Jordan and Kasper Woolley were second and third, respectively, in GS. Woolley took second and Finn Iles was third in the slalom. Iles and Alexander Valentin each posted two top-five finishes, while Griffin Smith, Phil Beauregard, Kai Labrenz, Eric Lyall, Nikola Filipovic and Davis Bonsall-Jevning each had top-10 results during the weekend.

Katie Fleckenstein secured a pair of medals in U16 girls' competition, taking silver in GS and bronze in slalom. Jasmin Smallwood's GS bronze was one of her two top-five results, and Laura Swaffield captured a silver in slalom. Gabrielle Smith, Maggie Tuer, Bria Henderson, Lucy Turner and Martina Gershon each had at least one top-10 finish.

Sierra King had an impressive weekend of U14 girls' racing, winning the slalom one day after a GS bronze. King finished behind winner Ella Renzoni and Meg Swaffield in a Whistler sweep of the GS podium. Swaffield was also fourth in slalom, a race that saw local skier Maja Woolley claim silver. Erin Dawson and Lucy Tuer both had consistent races as well with two top 10s apiece.

Myles Kowalczyk was the U14 boy to beat in the weekend of races, as he claimed a gold medal in slalom and a silver in GS. Dawson Yates also picked up two podium finishes, placing second in slalom and third in GS. Whistler skier Jake Bennett won the GS race.

"I've never even been in the top 10, so this is really awesome," said Bennett.

Ethan McTavish, Jack Forsyth, Jack Cormack, Nathan Romanin and Eric Smith each recorded top-10 results during the weekend.

Full results are available at

The local club will get the advantage of home snow again shortly, as the Teck Coast Zone races scheduled for Jan. 11 and 12 are being moved to Whistler from Mount Washington due to a lack of snow.


Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw claimed Canada's first-ever one-two finish at an elite-level cross-country ski race on Saturday, Dec. 28, when they occupied the top two steps of the podium in the Tour de Ski's first stage.

Harvey finished first in the 4.5-km skate-ski prologue and Kershaw was 10 seconds back to take silver at Oberhof, Germany, which hosted the first event of the seven-race tour.

"It is so good to be on the podium today and especially to share it with a teammate," the 25-year-old Harvey said in a release. "It is just awesome for the whole team."

Saturday's result marked the second time Harvey and Kershaw have shared a World Cup podium, as they were also in the top three together at the 2012 World Cup finals in Sweden.


Arianne Jones earned the final spot on Canada's Olympic luge team just before Christmas after winning a race-off against teammate Jordan Smith in Calgary.

The 23-year-old emerged from a two-day, best-of-three series to take the last women's spot Canada will be allotted in Sochi. Alex Gough and Kim McRae will be Canada's other two female lugers at the Games.

"This race was the highest amount of pressure and stress I have ever faced so I can't imagine experiencing anything more in a World Cup or Olympics," Jones said in a release.


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