Quebec skiers strong in three-day international race
Canadas young racers showed that we are still one of the first nations of skiing, with strong performances at the ninth annual Whistler Cup against some of the best young skiers in the world.
Eighteen countries and 321 K1 (ages 11 and 12) and K2 (ages 13 and 14) racers competed in slalom and giant slalom events.
The top Canadian overall, in his third and last Whistler Cup appearance, was Louise-Philippe Therrien of Mont Tremblant, Quebec. Therrien claimed the bronze medal in the opening K2 giant slalom on April 6, finished sixth in the slalom on day two, and just missed the giant slalom podium on the final day of the competition by two one-hundredths of a second.
"I was very close," said Therrien, who will be moving up to FIS and provincial team competition next season. "I felt really good and had an awesome run. The conditions and the course were also good, so I skied hard, and Im really happy with my results."
Therrien is no stranger to European racers, having won the gold in slalom at this years Trofeo Topolino races in Italy.
"Theyre awesome skiers, really hard to compete against, but Canadian skiers are still in there," said Therrien. "We just have to keep training hard, train in the summer, and were right in there with everybody."
Christian Femy, Alpine Canada athletic director and Team Canada captain, felt that the competition had moved to a new level.
"It was a tough year this year, the field was really, really strong compared to other years, and we still did really well fourth place overall, right behind the top nations in the world," said Femy.
"We appreciate this a lot. Thats why we have the Whistler Cup. When we go to Topolino, we can only bring 10 skiers, but here we had more than 100 Canadians in the races, so a lot of skiers get to experience the competition, to see that we have the ability to compete against the best in the world."
Gordie Bowles, Alpine Canadas manager of communications and public relations, was amazed to watch Team Canada move up one spot after last years fifth place performance.
"We had three straight days of perfect racing conditions here, which is almost unheard of in this sport, and we made the most of them," said Bowles. "We had more racers in the top 10 then weve had in a few years not as many podiums as we would have liked, but there were a lot of great performances and some great progress by our athletes.