Sports » Features

Maëlle Ricker threepeats at Banked Slalom



There are a handful of snowboard industry events that have achieved hallowed status over the years, and principal among them is the annual Mt. Baker Banked Slalom.

Taking place in a wide gully on Mt. Baker, the course follows the natural countours of the slope down the side of the mountain.

For the third time, Whistler's Maëlle Ricker won the women's title, clearing the course in 1:34.12 - more than half a second ahead of Helene Olafsen of Norway, and Marni Yamada of Seattle. Victoria Jealouse was seventh.

In the Pro Men's category Robert Fagan of the national snowboardcross team placed fourth behind a trio of Americans led by Nate Holland. Graham Watanabe and Temple Cummins were second and third.

The prizes are always interesting and this year was no exception. Winners were kitted out mariachi-style with guitars and Mexican blankets.

A few other Sea to Sky athletes took part. Alex Warburton of Squamish was third in Pro Masters, age 35 and up, while Garry Pendygrasse and Jason Buckles of Squamish and Pemberton were seventh and eighth.

In Masters 30 to 39, Dan Fear was 14th and Jason Fentiman 17th. Marco Rubeo was seventh in Mid Masters 40 to 49.

Showcase Showdown lays down a new challenge
After three years of pipestyle, organizers of the annual Showcase Showdown are mixing things up again with a Backyard Slopestyle event on Feb. 28 at the base of Whistler Mountain.

The format is easy to watch from the village, or from the patio at the GLC. The course is under development by Showcase team manager Brad Broughton, Kevin Sansalone of Sandbox Films, master park builder Steve Petrie, and members of Whistler-Blackcomb's Park Rangers.

The course will belong to the women from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., and the men's qualifier will start at 11 a.m. with the finals starting at 4 p.m.

Registration is available for $50 at Whistler Blackcomb Guest Relations, and entries will be capped at 60 men and 20 women.

This is the 20th anniversary for the event, which has gone from halfpipe to quarterpipe to slopestyle to rail jam to pipestyle, and now back to slopestyle over the years. $5,000 in cash is up for grabs, as well as prizes from sponsors. The top three men and women will also be featured in Sandbox's next film, "Shine On."

B.C. Luge Association holding raffle
The B.C. Luge Association will be raising money at the FIL Luge World Cup events taking place in Whistler this weekend, raising money to purchase more sleds, including adult sizes, and pay for coaching and track rental time at Whistler Sliding Centre.

The total value of prizes is over $5,000 with rounds of golf for four in Whistler and Pemberton, catskiing tours, snowmobile tours, and vacation rentals in luxury homes. Tickets are $2 each and three for $5. Look for the B.C. Luge Banner near the concession tent in the spectator area to purchase yours. The draw takes place on March 1 at 1 p.m. and winners will be notified by phone or mail.

WASP hosts fundraising events
The Whistler Adaptive Sports Program is hosting a pair of fundraising events in early March, as the resort plays host to International Paralympic Committee World Cups in Nordic and alpine skiing.

The first event is the WASP Ski-a-Thon at Whistler Olympic Park on March 7, which takes place on the same day as the World Cup cross-country sprint classic and finals. Gather pledges and see how many laps you can make of the course while enjoying the World Cup. Individuals, teams and corporate events are welcome. Visit for more information.

On March 14, WASP is hosting Wine'd Up at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, giving the public a chance to meet IPC alpine athletes after they wrap up their final day of racing. More details will be available soon.

Loonie and Loppet for Whistler Nordics
This Sunday, Feb. 22, the Whistler Nordics are hosting the 31st annual Whistler Loppet in Lost Lake Park.

Today, Feb. 19, is the last opportunity to register at, with categories ranging from Mini-Atoms (ages six and under) to Masters. Courses will range from approximately 2.4 km for the youngest skiers to 30 km for Masters (distances are subject to change), and there will be a 19 km recreational class as well. There will also be two para-nordic categories, sitting and standing, with participants skiing 2.4 km to 5 km. The price of entry ranges from $20 to $55, depending on your age.

The race gets underway with a mass start at 10 a.m. from the trails near Nicklaus North Golf Club.

For more information visit

As well as the registration deadline for the Loppet, tonight also features another Whistler Nordics Twoonie Race. This event takes place at Whistler Olympic Park, with registration at the day lodge from 6 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and the race getting underway at 6:45 p.m. Headlamps are again required.

The event is sponsored by Whistler Cross Country Connection, Whistler Cooks and Whistler Olympic Park.

The format is a pursuit, which you can race in a team of two (one classic and one skate), or the more ambitious skiers can do both disciplines. Complimentary equipment is available from Cross Country Connection for skiers who only have one set of gear.

This race is also open to other Nordic skiing clubs in the Sea to Sky corridor, from West Vancouver to Pemberton.

Last week's race was sponsored by Riverside Café and Rainbow Electric with another solid turnout. Sam Lindsay won the elite men's race, followed by Dave Burch and Duncan Munro. Kristin Johnston won for the elite women, followed by Irene Wood and Margot Murdoch. Nicki Murdoch won high school girls, followed by Erin Davidson and Akiko Clarke. Jack Iles, Finn Iles and Austin Reith were the top three boys, and Jennifer McTavish and Sydney Jackson were the top two girls.