The Sea to Sky Bears hockey club started out 2020 with a pair of tournament wins in the decade's first weekend.
Firstly, the bantam squad pulled off a stunning comeback in the finals of the Battle of the Bastion tournament in Nanaimo. Trailing Langley 4-0, the Bears tallied six unanswered goals—including five in the final 10 minutes of the third period—to earn a 6-4 victory and the gold medal. Sea to Sky finished the weekend undefeated.
The midget team, meanwhile, scored top spot at the Midget A New Year's Challenge in Coquitlam, winning all six games and defeating Powell River 5-2 in the championship game. In preliminary play, the Bears opened with a 6-3 win over Aldergrove, proceeded to top Victoria 9-0, then knocked off Comox Valley 6-3 and wrapped with a 2-1 edging of Penticton. In the semifinals, the Bears bounced Kamloops 9-0 to face Powell River.
The Bears, part of a BC Hockey zone teams program in its first year, feature players from Pemberton, Whistler and Squamish.
St-Germain just out of top 10 at Zagreb
Alpine skier Laurence St-Germain nearly picked up her third top-10 result in as many finishes this season in Audi FIS World Cup slalom action in Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 4.
St-Germain took an 11th-place finish, coming in 5.36 seconds behind champion Petra Vlhova of Slovakia. American Mikaela Shiffrin and Austria's Katharina Liensberger rounded out the podium in second and third, respectively.
Sitting 23rd after her first run, St-Germain put up the seventh-best attempt her second time down to make a significant jump.
"I'm really happy about my second run, I wish I was able to put two together but it's always good to move up. I skied well," she said in a release.
The other Canadian in action, Amelia Smart, placed 17th to score a new career best.
Erik Read was the lone Canadian to complete two runs on the men's side, ultimately placing 22nd overall. France's Clement Noel held off Switzerland's Roman Zenhaeusern and Italy's Alex Vinatzer for the victory.
Channell sixth at Winterberg
North Vancouver resident and Whistler Sliding Centre legacy baby Jane Channell started the new decade on the right foot in Winterberg on Jan. 5.
The skeleton racer posted her top result of the BMW IBSF World Cup season, placing sixth, 1.03 seconds behind champion Tina Hermann of Germany. Fellow Canuck Mirela Rahneva picked up her first podium of the season, taking second, 0.03 seconds off the pace, while Austria's Janine Flock took third. Meanwhile, Madison Charney scored an 18th-place finish.
Channell improved in her second run, sitting eighth before earning the fifth-best follow-up to jump into sixth.
"Starting the New Year with a sixth-place finish is definitely a big confidence booster," Channell said in a release. "The set up for the race was different than any other. We came together as a team, working well for each other when we needed immediate help on the track.
"The field is filled with top competitors so to be ranked up there at the top of the results sheet is huge for me."
After finishing just off the podium in fourth in the first two races of the season, Rahneva again found herself in fourth at the midpoint in Winterberg. She posted the best second run to surge into second.
"I was sitting there after the first run and I said to myself, 'I'm sick of fourth. I'll be really, really mad if that happens again,'" Rahneva said in a release. "I was definitely more eager to step it up in the final heat and get on the podium."
In men's skeleton action, both Canadians failed to earn a second attempt as Kevin Boyer and Kyle Murray took 21st and 22nd overall, respectively.
In the bobsleigh, Justin Kripps and his crew earned fifth and sixth in a pair of four-man races on Jan. 3 and 4, in order.
In the Jan. 3 event, Kripps was 0.57 seconds behind winner Francesco Friedrich's German sled, while fellow German Nico Walther was second and Latvia's Oskars Kiebermanis took third.
In the Jan. 4 race, Kripps had less time between his sled and top spot—0.48 seconds—but was further down the list in sixth.
Johannes Lochner led a German sweep of the podium, edging out Friedrich and Walther in order.
Lastly, in women's action on Jan. 4, Canada's Christine de Bruin and Kristen Bujnowski earned a seventh-place finish, 0.60 seconds back of champions Stephanie Schneider and Kira Lipperheide of Germany. The hosts dominated the podium here, too, as Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek took second, and Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi were third.
Complete results are available online at www.ibsf.org.
Freeride Club hosts regional
The Whistler Freeride Club (WFC) held an IFSA Junior Regional Event near the Jersey Cream Lift Line on Jan. 5. With the bulk of the competitors coming from the club, WFC dominated the four divisions.
In the 15-to-18 men's event, Marcus Goguen came away with the win, eking out enough points to top Tristan Curran and Ryder Bulfone. As for the women, Kiersten Higgins came out on top over Olivia Boeker.
In the 12-to-14 contest, Drea Dimma emerged over Sofia Guy and Kayla Constantini in the women's event, while independent skier Dane Jewett topped the men's event over Kieran Ferguson and Lukas Bennett.
Complete results are available in the Whistler Freeride Club group on Facebook.
O'Rourke cracks top 100 list
For the second consecutive year, Padraic O'Rourke cracked the Professional Golf Association of BC's list of the top 100 golf professionals in the province.
The Fairmont Chateau Whistler's head pro was the lone Whistler rep on the list, as he finished tied for 23rd in the organization's professional development program in 2019. Professionals earn points through continuing education, participating in events such as PGA of BC tournaments, awards program and the annual Buying Show, as well as volunteerism.
For more information on the program, visit www.pgaofbc.org/pdp.