The Whistler Mountain Ski Club's Riley Seger was crowned the overall champion at the U16 Western Championships at Panorama Mountain Resort last week, an event that made headlines when several athletes were displaced by a fire at their hotel or lost their gear completely in the blaze. A few clubs, like Rabbit Hill Ski Club left before the racing could even begin, while other clubs managed to borrow gear from other skiers and teams to stay in the competition.
"It was a great show of sportsmanship to other clubs rally together to help," said Nigel Cooper, manager of athlete development for Alpine Canada. "When things like this happen you hope to see the best in people, and we definitely did. There was a lot of generosity shown from everyone involved."
Seger won the men's giant slalom and super G, and placed 16th in the slalom to finish with 215 points.
In the giant slalom, teammates Max Kirshenblatt, Max Peiffer, Alex Gershon and Cooper Yates cracked the top 15 in 10th, 11th, 12th and 13th respectively.
In the slalom, Gershon picked up a silver medal while Kirshenblatt placed fourth, missing the podium by one tenth of a second. Jeffrey Cadman was ninth.
In the super G, James Crawford joined Seger on the podium in third place, while Cooper Yates was 13th.
In the women's GS the top WMSC skier was Mikayla Martin in fourth, with Stefanie Fleckenstein in 10th. Martin was a close fourth (six one-hundredths of a second) in the slalom race while Fleckenstein was 14th. In the super G they finished seventh and eighth respectively.
The WMSC also took part in U14/16 Teck races at Cypress, a zone level competition.
In the U14 men, the WMSC's Kasper Woolley won the giant slalom on Saturday with Finn Iles placing second. Also in the top 10 were Myles Kowalczyk, Kyle Alexander, Asher Jordan and Ethan McTavish.
In the U14 women, Ella Renzoni won silver and Anna Gosney bronze, with Nicole Mah, Lucy Turner, Morgan Border and Sarah Pudritz all in the top 10.
In the U16 races, Shintaro Sekiya won a silver and Eliot Bandstra was sixth on the men's side, while Amelia Smith won gold in the women's race, and Ashleigh Knight and Christina Macleod were in the top 10.
On Sunday, Woolley earned his second win, with Asher Jordan and Finn Iles making it a podium sweep. Masashi Tsutsumi, Myles Kowalczyk, Kai Labrenz, Ethan McTavish and Kyle Alexander gave the WMSC eight in the top 10. In U14 women, the team took nine of 10 spots with Katei Fleckenstein first, Ella Renzoni second and Anna Gosney third. Mollie Jepsen, Alissa Wong, Sierra King, Erin Dawson, Lucy Turner and Sarah Pudritz were fourth through ninth.
In U16, Shintaro Sekiya won silver and was the only skier in the top 10. Bria Henderson won the women's race, with Ashleigh Knight in seventh and Christina Macleod in ninth.
WMSC alums and FIS Athletes also took part in the Van Houtte Cup races at Sun Peaks. Notable results include Brodie Seger's bronze medal in the opening slalom and Charley Field's win in the giant slalom.
Freeskiers fly at Fernie fest
Members of the Whistler Freeride program at Whistler Blackcomb made the long trip to Fernie this past weekend to take part in a Jeep Junior National Freeski Series contest. They arrived to find that the competition venues had been moved down the mountain because of issues with snow, but made the most of a run with a steep and technical top section and a bottom section where athletes could show off park skills.
In the Boys 12 to 14 category, Cooper Bathgate moved from fifth to first in the last run of the day, while teammate Mitchell Long was seventh and Luke Lister 10th. Jackson Bathgate may have taken the win with one of the best runs of the day, but lost a ski a few metres from the finish line.
In the Girls 15 to 18 category, sisters Carlene and Camilla Loughlin were second and third respectively, with Camilla jumping up four spots in the finals.
In Boys 15 to 18, Conrad Murdoch placed eighth and Tom Peifer 18th. Liam Peifer crashed at the end of his run.
The event was important to the riders, with points awarded that could make the difference whether an athlete is invited to the North American Championships in Revelstoke in April.