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Osborne-Paradis earns FIS finals slot

Sports briefs: GoPro junior challenge this weekend; Ski-cross racers strong in Fernie



Manny Osborne-Paradis knew he'd have to be good to extend his season by a race.

And Kvitfjell, Norway is a downhill course where he'd recently had success.

Put the two together and it worked out.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) alumnus was disappointed to miss the podium by just six hundredths of a second, but with the fourth-place finish, qualified to take part in the FIS finals in St. Moritz, Switzerland this week.

"It was a bittersweet day for me today finishing in fourth again in Kvitfjell," Osborne-Paradis told the Alpine Canada website. "Being fourth kinda sucks but the goal today was to make World Cup Finals and I accomplished that. I get to ski another race this season and that was the end goal of today. I'm happy to be going to Finals, which is a great course for me and where World Championships are held next year, so it's important for me to be going there." 

Osborne-Paradis was second in the Kvitfjell downhill last season, but had previously tasted tough defeat there, missing the podium by a hundredth of a second in 2013.

Erik Guay placed 16th and Benjamin Thomsen was 27th.

GoPro Junior Freeski Challenge coming this weekend

The top young freeskiers will come to Whistler this weekend.

The GoPro Junior Freeski Challenge for those aged 12 to 18 will come to Whistler Blackcomb in an attempt to gain glory on the slopes from March 17 to 20.

The preliminary round will take place at The Bite on Blackcomb Mountain and the finals will shift to Couloir Extreme, also on Blackcomb.

"Whistler Blackcomb is having a great season in terms of snowfall this year," Whistler Blackcomb events manager Seb Fremont said in a release. "Pair the excellent conditions with Whistler Blackcomb's iconic big mountain terrain and the up and coming stars of the freeski world have a great venue on which to test themselves and showcase their talent."

The 12-to-14 age group will do its qualifiers on Friday, March 18, while the 15-to-18 age group will narrow its ranks the next day. Finals are slated for Sunday, March 20.

Ski-cross racers hit podium

A trio of Whistlerites proved to be jacks of all races in Fernie on the weekend.

At the Western Ski Cross finals in the southeastern part of the province, Jack Morrow and Jack MacDonald finished one-two in the U14 male race on March 12. In another race in the same division the next day, Jackson Ferguson emerged as the winner.

Kelly, Gagnon headline Whistler moguls contingent

Pemberton's Brenden Kelly took home some hardware from the Canadian Mogul Championships at Camp Fortune in Chelsea, Que. on the weekend.

The 20-year-old placed third in the single moguls event, scoring 83.72 points compared to winner and Canadian legend Mikaël Kingsbury's 91.75. Philippe Marquis was in the middle with a score of 87.06. Kelly placed 13th in the dual moguls event.

Sofiane Gagnon may not have hit the podium but she still impressed in dual moguls.

With the four competitors who placed ahead of her — and the two who placed behind her — representing the national team, the 16-year-old Whistler resident served notice that she's among the next generation of moguls athletes.

Gagnon scored 27.67 points, 1.14 points off the podium and 2.33 back of champion Audrey Robichaud.

Mackenzie Schwinghammer was 10th, Maia Schwinghammer was 12th and Raine Haziza was 21st.

In the single moguls event, Gagnon placed ninth and Maia Schwinghammer was 16th.