By Andrew Mitchell
Organizers and volunteers at the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships had their hands full this past week with every type of weather Whistler’s coastal system could throw at them — snow, rain, fog, wind, sun, and temperatures that fluctuated from 10 below zero to eight degrees Celsius.
Despite the frequent course delays and cancelled training runs, the slalom, giant slalom, super G, and team dual slalom took place by the end of Sunday afternoon, and the downhill got off under sunny skies on Tuesday.
The women’s giant slalom took place on Friday, with Whistler’s Britt Janyk placing first by more than two seconds. Shona Rubens of the national development team, first in the slalom on March 20, picked up the silver medal, and Marie-Michele Gagnon of Quebec claimed the bronze.
It was Janyk’s fourth national GS title in the past six years, but came after a season where Janyk focused almost entirely on downhill and super G disciplines.
“It wasn’t easy today,” she said, “the conditions were not ideal, but you can’t control Mother Nature so you can’t worry about it.”
Rubens credited Janyk for setting the bar high for the other racers.
“Britt really stepped it up today. She’s skiing amazingly well so I’m satisfied with my performance and with finishing second,” she said.
J1 skier Victoria Whitney was the top racer for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club in 18 th place out of over 70 racers. She also placed third for her age group. Brianne Ormerod, the top WMSC racer in the slalom, was 35 th , followed by Calindy Ramsden 36 th , Julia Murray 39 th , Jennifer Mah 41 st , and Katrina Dekur 46 th .
In the men’s giant slalom the following day, Mont Tremblant’s Erik Guay followed up on his recently announced plan to race more GS events on the World Cup circuit with his first ever national title in the discipline. Guay, best known for the speed events, won four medals in downhill and super G to wrap up his World Cup season.
Guay made up for a late starting spot by tucking his way through the flat sections of the course, putting his downhill skills to good use. That left him in second place after the first run, behind John Kucera of Calgary. Kucera had a rough second attempt at the course, which pushed him back to 21 st overall and left Guay, solid again in the afternoon, unchallenged for first place.