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The Year in Sports

From high fives to the World Cup podium

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You’d think it would be hard to fill six or seven pages every week with sports stories in a town of 10,000, but if anything there’s usually too much going on to report everything.

During the winter, Whistler-Blackcomb hosts the Kokanee Valley Race Series, the Masters Race Series, the Park Rider Sessions, the King of the Rail contests, and numerous one-off competitions like the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival, the Peak to Valley race, the Showcase Showdown, and the Backcountry Jam. The Whistler Nordics host 10 Twoonie Races and the Whistler Loppet, and Cross Country Connection runs the annual Lost Lake Shuffle. We have three hockey leagues, a squash league, and weekly drop-in sports nights for everything from indoor soccer to volleyball to dodgeball. Local kids have more choices than ever with hockey (more rep teams than ever), gymnastics, competitive dance, figure skating, volleyball, basketball, ski racing, snowboarding and more.

Summer is even busier, with 22 cross-country races and six downhill races hosted by the Whistler Off-Road Cycling Association, weekly rides hosted by Wild Willies, and one-time cycling events like the Ken Quon Memorial Ride, the West Side Wheel Up, the new Soo Valley Rumble, the Cheakamus Challenge, Crankworx, and Red Bull Elevation. The Whistler Tri Club hosts a Kids of Steel triathlon the past two summers, and last year held a beginner triathlon for adults.

If you’re into running, you had your choice of the weekly trail running clinics and monthly hash runs hosted by Escape Route, the Comfortably Numb Trail Run, the Whistler Valley Trail Run, the 5 Peaks Trail Run, and the Terry Fox Run.

Then there’s Slo-Pitch (six leagues this year), the soccer league and rep teams, the Hoary Marmots rugby team, the newly re-launched Whistler Outdoor Volleyball Association, the drop-in ultimate games, house league tennis tournaments, and the list goes on. You could literally be doing something active every day of the week if you had the time and energy.

At the end of every year I pick a few highlights from the previous season — a sampling, because there’s too much to cover everything. Here’s 2007:

January

Jan. 1 — The Squamish Test of Metal sells out in a record 48 minutes, compared to four hours and 19 minutes in 2006, and five days in 2005. Spots for 2008 go on sale at 6 p.m. sharp!

Jan. 1 — A new federal tax law allows parents to deduct up to $500 per child for sports costs. Hope you kept your receipts.

Jan. 6 — Local freeskiers went to Rossland for the Canadian Open Freeskiing Championships. Whistler’s Alex Prochazka, Kerry-Anne Hamilton and Erin Erkk won their respective categories.

Jan. 6 — Three Whistler Minor Hockey League players, Alex Hozner, Nadine Crowe and Beth Chaisson, are selected to compete in the provincials for the Zone 5 team.

Jan. 13-14 — Brin Alexander and Max Ripper qualify for the Sports Illustrated for Kids Next Snow Search finals in Killington, Vermont, while Yuki Tsubota is selected for Next Snow Search All Stars at Steamboat, Colorado.

Jan. 13-14 — Whistler Mountain Ski Club racers clean up at Mars B.C. Cup races in Rossland. Medals went to Julia Murray, Brynne Benbow, Victoria Whitney and James McLean.

Jan. 20 — Canadian downhillers Erik Guay and Manuel Osborne-Paradis place second and third in Val d’Isere, bringing the team’s medal haul to eight on the season.

Jan. 20 — Whistler rider Brad Martin wins bronze in the World Cup halfpipe at Arosa, Switzerland.

Jan. 21 — A huge youth turnout for the first Atomic Cross of the season. Winners were Nick Geddes, Rachael Vanderveen, Oscar Kirkwood, Sead Causevic, Perry Bizyk, Ariana Stufano, Ali Tracy, Britney Cameron, Jacelyn Smith, and Tyler Allison.

Jan. 26-28 — Whistler athletes compete in the X-Games. Maëlle Ricker is third in snowboard cross, Mercedes Nicoll sixth in halfpipe, Leanne Pelosi eighth in slopestyle, Dave Barr eighth in ski cross, and Sarah Burke first women’s skier halfpipe.

Jan. 27 — Britt Janyk places fourth in World Cup super-G, just 0.03 seconds off the podium. It was her best World Cup result to date, and the first of four fourth place finishes on the season.

Jan. 27 — WMSC K1 skiers dominate podium at Cypress. Medals went to Kailee Darlington, Kaylie Higgs, Charlie Field, Broderick Thompson, Matthew Segal, Logan Pehota, Alexander Smith and Brodie Seger.

Jan. 27-28 — WMSC K2 skiers raced in the annual Parsons Memorial Downhill, winning all but two medals. Medal winners were Madison McLeish, Kelsi Francisty, Jenny Rea, Michael Cadman, Isaac Penn, William Konantz, Patrick Taillefer, Elyse Timoshenko, and Spencer Morris.

Jan. 28 — Ontario’s Matthew Morison picks up his first World Cup medal in alpine snowboarding, and he would follow up with two more medals over the course of the season.

February

Feb. 2-4 — Yuki Tsubota and Logan Pehota take part in the Next Snow Search All Stars contest. Pehota was third in ski cross, while Tsubota was third overall for slopestyle, skicross, and big air.

Feb. 2-3 — The annual Peak to Valley race takes place in stormy conditions. The top team was Barry the Rooster (Tom Prochazka, Chris Kent, Liz Thompson and Steve Fleckenstein).

Feb. 3 — Britt Janyk is fourth in the World Championship super G.

Feb. 3-4 — WMSC skiers sustain injuries in a rugged Mars B.C. Cup DH at Apex. Podiums go to Victoria Whitney, Conrad Pridy and Morgan Pridy.

Feb. 8 — Jan Hudec wins a silver medal in downhill to lead Canadians at World Championships.

Feb. 11 — The annual Whistler Loppet takes place, with a field of 140 racers. Glenn Bond of Silver Star is the top male, local Tobi Henderson the top female.

Feb. 11-13 — Local skiers race in Canadian Masters Downhill competition, with Rick Lewon and Liz Thompson placing first among men and women, and Stewart Smith and Tom Tompson contributing to win the team event as well.

Feb. 12 — Squamish mountain biker Meghan Kindree wins Premier’s Athletic Award.

Feb. 16 — Maëlle Ricker wins women’s category at Mt. Baker Banked Slalom.

Feb. 17-18 — WMSC skiers race the Enquist Slalom, dominating the podium. Medal winners include Jocelyn Ramsden, Raylor Green, Elyse Timoshenko, Michael Cadman, Matthew Sawchyn, Madison McLeish, Isaac Penn, and Spencer Morris.

Feb. 17-18 — The Whistler Freeride Club takes part in a Junior Freeride Contest at Lake Louise. Podium finishers include Ariana Stufano, Lonnie Wake, Jordan Ling and Ryan Sullivan.

Feb. 17 — Snowboardcross racers Maëlle Ricker and Drew Neilson, and alpine racer Matthew Morison, win gold medals at World Cup in Japan.

Feb. 24 — The sixth annual Lost Lake Shuffle enduro takes place. Jean-Yves Sauriol the top male with 69 km in four hours. Tara Calvert was the top female with 60 km.

Feb 24-25 — WMSC K1 team cleans up at Grouse. Medals to Kailee Darlington, Rae Swette, Kyle Gardiner, Kaylie Higgs and Morgan Taylor.

Feb. 24 — 10 th annual Showcase Showdown, and second year for the Pipestyle event. The top male is Chris Wimbles, followed by Jacob Koia, and Clint Allan. The top female was Pilar Peterson, followed by Sarah Conrad and Stephanie Just.

Feb. 24 — Erik Guay picks up the Canadian ski team’s 10 th and 11 th medals of the season, a gold and bronze, at a double downhill in Germany.

Feb. 24 — Maëlle Ricker wins the U.S. Snowboarding Championships snowboardcross.

Feb. 24 — Visually impaired Nordic racer Brian McKeever becomes the first Paralympian to compete in the able bodied World Championships, where he placed in the top 25 per cent of racers.

March

Mar. 3-4 — WMSC K2’s race in provincial championships. Medals went to Madison McLeish, Isaac Penn, Michael Cadman, Ford Swette, and Matthew Sawchyn.

Mar. 3-4 — Logan Pehota places second in Next Snow Search Finals in Vermont, out of a field of 115 kids, and named to 25-member Sports Illustrated for Kids team.

Mar. 2-4 — Emily Brydon and Francois Bourque pick up two more medals for national alpine ski team, tying previous team record.

Mar. 3-4 — Ben Thomas places fifth in B.C. Squash Champiosnhips.

Mar. 8-11 — Canadian freestylers clean up at world championships with three gold medals, a silver and a bronze. Medal winners were Jenn Heil, the overall champion, Kristi Richards, Pierre-Alexandre Rousseau, Steve Omischl, and Stan Hayer in the first Skicross world championship. Whistler’s Brian Bennett and Davey Barr were 12 th and 22 nd . Dale Begg-Smith, who grew up in Whistler and now competes for Australia, won silver in moguls and gold in dual moguls to take the overall.

Mar. 10 — Whistler Minor Hockey Pee Wee C2 team wins Lions Gate banner.

Mar. 10-11 — Whistler freeskiers Matty Richard, Brett Crabtree and Joel Jacques made the top-tier of U.S. Freeski Championships. Richard had the top result, placing seventh.

Mar. 11 — Locals compete in UBC triathlon, with medals going to Christine Suter, David Higgins, Dawn Titus, and Alisa Brownlee.

Mar. 16-25 — Whistler hosts the Pontiac GMC National Championships. Britt Janyk wins women’s giant slalom title.

Mar. 17-18 — WMSC K2 skiers in Western Canadian Championships. Medals went to Marielle Thompson, Catriona Blair, Joshua Robertson.

Mar. 17-18 — Erik Guay wins Canada’s 14 th World Cup medal, setting the team record.

Mar. 17 — Drew Neilson takes overall World Cup snowboardcross title with a bronze medal in Quebec.

Mar. 17 — Minor Hockey Bantan Rep A team places second in the province.

Mar. 23-25 — WMSC K1 skiers in provincials at Fernie. Medals to Kailee Darlington, Kaylie Higgs, Broderick Thompson, Alexander Smith, Matthew Segal. At the K2 nationals at Mont Tremblant Madison McLeish was also crowned the overall champion.

Mar. 23-25 — Nations snowboard championships. Maëlle Ricker, Mercedes Nicoll and Brad Martin top snowboardcross and halfpipe.

Mar. 30-Apr. 2 — Locals take part in Baja Travesia adventure race. Jen Segger’s team Dart-NUUN wins the overall, while Team Helly Hansen (Megan Rose, Gary Robbins) finished an unranked second after their kayaks were smashed up by high seas.

April

Apr. 6-8 — Whistler athletes take part in B.C. Freestyle Championships. Medals for Yuki Tsubota, Jae Woo Choi, and Brenden Kelly.

Apr. 7-8 — WMSC host annual Whistler Cup juvenile races. Richard Long of Ontario leads Canadian team to first ever Nations Cup title.

Apr. 13-20 — Whistler hosts the World Snowboarding Open and World Skiing Invitational as part of the Telus World Ski and Snowboard Festival. Too many results to mention, but congratulations to Matt Belzile and Craig Beaulieu for dominating in the snowboard events.

Apr. 13-15 — Will Routley is on the podium twice in road racing, placing third in Tahuya Seabeck race and first in the Harris Roubaix B.C. Cup.

Apr. 18 — Grete Eliassen wins If Ullr Was A Girl contest, then donates $25,000 first prize to charities. Angie Seeley of Sun Peaks was the top amateur.

Apr. 17-19 — World’s top ski mountaineering athletes show up for the Whistler Backcountry Freeride Jam. Killian Jornet Burgada and Manuel Perez of Spain on top.

Apr. 28 — WORCA bike swap sells more than $73,000 in bikes and gear, raising $7,672 for youth programs — minus almost $1,200 paid to one owner who had his bike stolen.

Apr. 28 — Nicola Halliwell stuns Whistler Gymnastics by placing first overall in the Provincial Level 2 Open category with all around consistent performances, and medals on bars and beam.

Apr. 30 — Canada unveils new sport development program that will be adapted to all sports.

May

May 5-6 — Robert’s Creek Rat Race kicks off B.C. Cup mountain bike series. Podiums went to Jennifer Tabbernor, Lesley Clements, Trevor Hopkins, Mike Charuk, Bob Allison, David Thornhill, Gary Baker, Nick Geddes and Kerry-Anne Hamilton in cross-country, and Alex Prochazka and Tyler Allison in downhill.

May 6 — Vancouver Marathon and Half Marathon. Kevin Mair was top local runner going the full distance, placing 97 th overall and seventh in age category.

May 12 — Squamish hosts first Mind Over Mountain Adventure Race on a 45 km course. Top local results include Todd Nowarck and Gary Robbins in the team category, Duncan Munro placing fourth in the solo race, Megan Rose placing first in team-of-two co-ed, Lina Augaitis placing first in team-of-four co-ed.

May 20 — Whistler athletes in North Shore Triathlon. Age category medals went to David Higgins, Marie-Anne Prevost, Bob Deeks, Christine Suter, Ross McLynn.

May 26 — Whistler high school students race in mountain bike championships. Tyler Allison and Max Horner were first and third in their respective grades, and the school placed third in the province.

May 26 — Will Routley wins his second B.C. Cup road race, this time in Burnaby.

May 26 — Annual Whistler Valley Trail Run. Kristina Rody first overall, followed by Duncan Munro and Greg McDonnell.

May 27 — The Whistler Tri Club hosts the Kids of Steel Triathlon and Adult Try-A-Tri out of Meadow Park with over 120 participants.

June

June 3 — Local racers in Oliver Half Iron. In age categories, David Higgins was fifth, Bob Deeks fourth, Paul Suter sixth, Marie-Anne Prevost sixth, John Blok sixth, Greg Sandkuhl second, Christine Suter seventh, Christine Cogger sixth, and Alisa Brownlee eighth.

June 10 — Whistler’s Alex Prochazka, 16, becomes only the second person to land a double backflip on a mountain bike at 26Trix in Austria, as well as the first to land the trick in a competition.

June 11 — Whistler-Blackcomb DFX team in B.C. Cup at The Ranch in Kamloops. On the podium were Nick Geddes, Max Horner, and Tyler Allison.

June 16-17 — The Layoam Eagles dragon boat team regains the high school title for the ninth straight year.

June 16 — Neal Kindree retains Test of Metal title for second year, despite the rain and mud. The top Whistler racer was Matt Ryan in 10 th overall, while Jennifer Tabbernor was the top female in 13 th . On the age group podiums from Whistler were Megan Rose, Fanny Paquette, Lindsay Burch, Hilary Lindh, Jonny Lloyd, Bob Allison, Tony Routley, Rob McSkimming, and David Thornhill.

June 17 —Marie-Anne Prevost was first in her age category at Victoria Half Iron.

June 24 — Fourth annual Comfortably Numb. Two men break previous course record, with Vancouver’s Adam Campbell finishing the 25 km trail run in 1:58:45 — followed closely by Whistler’s Jason Shorter in 1:58:56. The top female was Vernon’s Tracy Garneau in 2:14:27.

July

July 1 — Ryan Nyquist takes third annual Red Bull Elevation BMX contest in Whistler Village, possibly with a broken wrist.

July 1-7 — The inaugural B.C. Bike Race took place, from Victoria to Whistler via as much singletrack as the organizers could find. On the podium were local women Sarah O’Byrne and Emma Smith and the Pemberton mixed team of Ryan Watts and Hilary Harrison.

July 7 — The B.C. Mountain Bike Championships. Cross-country medal winners include Kerry-Anne Hamilton, Jenna Wilkins, Max Horner, Nick Geddes, Tyler Allison, Bob Allison, Trevor Hopkins, Cathy Jewett.

July 8 — The 10 th annual Squamish Triathlon. Locals winning medals include David Higgins, Bob Deeks, Greg Sandkuhl, Claire Daniels, Alisa Brownlee, Brenda Baker, Francesca Cole, Nancy Johnston.

July 14 — Gearjammer race in Squamish. Matt Ryan second overall in pro men. Locals winning age category medals include Joanna Harrington, Lesley Clements, Victoria Whitney, Lina Augaitis, Jonny Lloyd, Josh Stott, Mike Boehm, Trevor Hopkins, Keith Ray, Mike Charuk, David Thornhill and Gary Baker.

July 14 — Whistler teacher Kevin Titus regains 48 km Knee Knacker title, while smashing the masters record by three minutes. Other locals to finish the race were Walter Walgram, Duncan Munro.

July 14 — Will Routley wins the Tour de White Rock road title to lead off Super Week.

July 21-29 — Crankworx. Too many events to list all the medal winners, but Whistler’s junior riders stole the show with Tyler Allison wining in three events, Max Horner and Nick Geddes placing in everything they entered, and Brandon Semenuk and Alex Prochazka’s making the Kokanee Slopestyle finals and placing third and sixth respectively.

July 20-22 — Tim Horton’s National MTB Championships at Mt. Washington. Tyler Allison was third in cross-country and first in downhill. Claire Buchar and Katrina Strand were second and third for elite women.

August

Aug. 12 — Ken Quon Memorial raises another $12,000 for Whistler’s emergency services, purchasing a second remote diagnostic machine.

Aug. 12 — Crank It Up run opens in Whistler Mountain Bike Park.

Aug. 19 — Kelowna Apple Triathlon. Podiums went to David Higgins, Marie-Anne Prevost.

Aug. 12-18 — Pemberton’s Hillary Harrison placed first in Transrockies Challenge, with teammate Susan Haywood.

Aug. 23 — WORCA presents Max Horner with Lumpy Leidal award for top junior rider.

Aug. 25 — 5 Peaks run on Whistler Mountain. Record turnout of 458 runners. The only local on the podium was Walter Walgram.

Aug. 26 — Ironman Canada. Locals finishing the race include Ollie Blake, Bob Deeks, Joe Hertz, Greg Sandkuhl, Christine Cogger, John Blok, Grace Blok, Woochan Jeong, Mark Lyttle.

Aug. 25 — Jen Segger-Gigg and teammates place fourth in XPD adventure race.

September

* This is Whistler’s month of pain. This year only two athletes did every event, Duncan Munro and Sarah O’Byrne, meaning the West Side Wheel Up, Loop The Lakes, Soo Valley Rumble, Terry Fox Run, Cheakamus Challenge and Rubble Creek Classic.

Aug. 31-Sept. 2 — The seventh and final Samurai of Singletrack took place with the 49 riders that participated in all six previous races. The end of an era, prompting WORCA to start a new era with the Soo Valley Rumble.

Sept. 8 — West Side Wheel Up. Matt Ryan becomes the first rider to finish the course in under an hour. The top female is Joanna Harrington.

Sept. 9 — Loop the Lakes trail run. On the podium were Duncan Munro, Mel Day, Mick Peatfield, Lee Edwards, Sarah O’Byrne.

Sept. 16 — Soo Valley Rumble. The top riders were Kevin Phelps and Joanna Harrington.

Sept. 16 — Terry Fox Run. Raised more than $20,000 this year.

Sept. 22 — Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic. Max Plaxton wins again. Locals on the podium include Matt Ryan, Nikki Kassel, Tyler Allison, Jonny Lloyd, Mike Boehm, Trevor Hopkins, Eric Crowe, Mike Charuk, Scott Brunning, Fanny Paquette, Lina Augaitis, Sarah O’Byrne, Jesse Melamed, Jocelyn Ramsden.

Sept. 23 — Rubble Creek Classic 25 km trail run. The top Whistler runners were Duncan Munro in fifth, and Lindsay Burch who was the top female and seventh overall.

Sept. 23 — Whistler’s Morgan Titus was second in the Grouse Grind Mountain Run.

Sept. 29-30 — Maëlle Ricker wins gold and silver in opening snowboardcross World Cup events in Chile.

October

Oct. 5-7 — Harvest Huckfest. The slopestyle was cancelled because of the rain and wind, but Air Dome Jump Jam and Team Air Downhill go ahead. Mitch Chubey won the Jump Jam ahead of Tom Hey and Scott Attegar. The top team in the Air Downhill was Tristan Merrick, Katie Holden, Adam Mantle and Kyle McDonald.

Oct. 7 — Royal Victoria Marathon and Half Marathon. Kevin Titus is fifth overall and first in age category in full marathon. Claire Daniels was eighth in her age category.

Oct. 8 — Bike Park closes after another record season.

Oct. 9 — Canada Ski Cross team officially confirmed.

Oct. 14 — Ironman World Championships. Mike Edwards and Bob Deeks both finished strong, in times of 10:16:21 and 10:32:44 respectively.

Oct. 14 — Lumpy’s Epic Run. Aaron Heidt wins race and Sea to Sky series. The top Whistler runner was Dave Burch in second, with sisters Lindsay Burch and Nancy Johnston tying for first among women.

Oct. 20 — Cyclocross National Championships. Riders finishing in top-10 include Trevor Hopkins and Tony Routley.

Oct. 25 — More than 100 riders take part in WORCA Halloween ride in Lost Lake Park. That brings total WORCA ridership for 2007 to over 5,000 in 22 events, or 227 riders per race.

November

Nov. 4 — Local teams in Haney to Harrison relay. I Really Don’t Wanna Run — Bob Deeks, Christine Suter, Kevin Titus, Liz Cullen, Jonathan Silcock, Jennifer Keefer, John Blok and Grace Blok — were the top Whistler team placing third in Open Mixed category. I Don’t Wanna Run and the Chafed Taints also raced from Whistler.

Nov. 12-15 — La Ruta de los Conquistadores mountain bike race. Whistler’s Mike Charuk and Tony Routley first and second in their respective age categories.

Nov. 19 — The Canadian Olympmic Committee announces plan to pay athletes for medals in Olympic competition — $20,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver, and $10,000 for bronze.

Nov. 22-25 — World Cup at Lake Louise. Jan Hudec wins gold in downhill, five skiers in the top-10.

December

Dec. 2 — Britt Janyk wins first career World Cup medal, placing third in Lake Louise downhill.

Dec. 10 — Janyk follows up bronze with a gold in the downhill in Aspen.

Dec. 10 — Inaugural event is held at Whistler Olympic Park, a Coast Cup hosted by Hollyburn. 150 skinny skiers take part.

Dec. 9-11 — Freestyle moguls season starts. B.C.’s Kristi Richards third.

Dec. 16 — Emily Brydon was third on downhill podium at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

Dec. 10 — Maëlle Ricker wins silver at U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix in Colorado.

Dec. 21 — Kelly Vanderbeek wins silver in downhill at St. Anton, Austria, giving Canada four podiums in less than four weeks.