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Parsons Memorial something to remember

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Whistler Mountain Ski Club on podium in every event

The 25 th Annual Bob Parsons Memorial races gave a new generation of skiers their first taste of speed competitions last weekend with a pair of downhill events and a super G on the Lower Cruiser run of Blackcomb.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club K2 athletes (age 13 and 14) figured prominently in every race as they took on the top skiers from their competitive region, including the Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island.

The boys took seven of nine medals up for grabs, and the girls took six of nine. More than 80 athletes took part in this year’s event, which was originally created by Bob Parsons in 1969 to give young athletes a safe opportunity to try downhill racing. In recent years the downhill has been changed to a super G, but the downhill was brought back this season.

K2 head coach and former World Cup downhiller Rob Boyd was ecstatic with the race and his team’s performance.

"I think it was a great thing to give downhill back to that age group, and that hill was the perfect hill for a lot of the different elements of a downhill," said Boyd. "They were getting airborne, there were some long turns, some sidehills, some rough terrain, some flats. It wasn’t super fast, but the kids did get up over 100 kilometres an hour, so…"

Boyd says the goal was to get the kids used to longer skis and higher speeds because many of the racers will go on to FIS where speed training begins in earnest.

"Getting them ready for the next step is important. We don’t want to overload them with too many races at this stage of their development… but it’s really good to get them up to speed and give them a taste of what downhill is all about," he said.

"It’s way too early to try and pigeon-hole them or anything. The kids who are strong and have a little more weight were doing better, but of course skill was certainly part of it and Dan Penn came out on top on the guy’s side, Ben Podborski was second in downhill and third in super G and it was really great to see him popping in there, it was really great to see. On the women’s side, Jen and Sarah and Katrina, they really stepped up as well."

The team had a little training on their long skis the weekend before, and did a small speed camp during the week to get used to the equipment.

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