Although the Canadian team didn’t manage to hold onto its overall nations title at the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup this past weekend, there was still a lot to celebrate — Canadian skiers on the podium every day, skiers crowding the top-15, and a third place finish ahead of 14 other nations.
The U.S. Team walked away with the overall title this year with 271 points, with Austria placing a distant second with 218. Canada, the top nation in 2007, was just nine points back of Austria.
On April 4, the opening day of racing, two Canadians made the podium.
Ford Swette, who races with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, and was the top B.C. racer the previous week at the K2 national championships, won the K2 (ages 13 to 14) super G.
“This is just fantastic,” he said. “I was really hoping to win today but I would have been happy with top five because there are a lot of strong guys here,” he said. “Today I was just thinking about skiing my best and I felt confident because in the past I have done well at the Whistler Cup. I seem to be able to perform well on race day, not because of pressure, but I really enjoy the intensity.
“We had a lot of great pre-race training this week with (national coaches) Mark Sharp and Benoit Lalande, and I also really want to thank my coaches, Pierre-Luc Dumoulin, Joanna Magee and Sean Frith.”
Andrew Kircher of the U.S. finished second to Swette, just 0.03 seconds back, while Christian Juffinger of Austria was third. Also from Canada, Geoffrey Sugar was fifth, Jerome Tremblay seventh, Morgan Megarry 12 th , and Michael Law 13 th . Williams Konantz also cracked the top-30 for the WMSC, placing 29 th out of 96 racers.
Canadians didn’t fare as well in the K2 women’s super G, with national champion Claudia Paquin-Ricard placing seventh. “I’m happy with how I skied today,” said Paquin-Ricard, who usually does better in technical events. “The course was very long and steep but I did make my goal of top-15.”
The win went to Valentina Volopichova of Czech Republic, followed by Greta Byrne of the U.S. and Ricarda Haaser of Austria.
The WMSC’s Mackenzie Patterson was 10 th , while Canadians Alizee Mayran and Chloe Gagnon rounded out the top-15 in 12 th and 13 th respectively.
For the K1 racers (ages 11 to 12), which took part in a kombi (mixed discipline) race, Ontario’s Roni Remme made the podium in third place, behind Mikaela Shiffrin and Hana Saydek of the U.S. Whistler’s Kaylie Higgs and Emma King were ninth and 13 th respectively, while Ontario’s Darquise Denis was 11 th , and B.C.’s Silken Rauhala 15 th .
Also in the top-30 for Whistler were Rae Swette in 19 th , and Picabo Reeves 25 th out of 85 starters.
In the boys kombi, Eduard Dumas-Longpre of Quebec placed first, followed by Hughston Norton of the U.S. and Karl Kuus of Ontario. Other Canadians in the top-15 were Austin Llewellyn in eighth, the WMSC’s Brodie Seger in 10 th , and Martin Grasic in 13 th . WMSC skier Blake Ramsden was 17 th .
On the second day, K2 racers competed in a slalom and K1 racers in a giant slalom.
In the women’s slalom, Andrea Filser and Christina Goessner of Germany were first and third, with Greta Byrne of the U.S. placing second. The top Canadian was Foreste Lamoureux of Quebec in sixth place, while Elyse Timoshenko, who races with the WMSC but competed for Australia, was seventh. Cillian Chisholm, Samantha Bisnaire and Alexina Lamoureux rounded out the top-15 for Canada in eighth, 11 th and 12 th . Whistler’s Kailee Darlington was 18 th .
It was an Austrian sweep on the men’s side, with Christian Juffinger first, Paul Zimmermann second and Christian Steiner third. The top Canadian was Fraser Bruce in seventh place, followed by Jerome Tremblay in ninth, Vincent Lajoie in 10 th , Connor Whalen 11 th , Robert Overing 12 th , Patrick Firth 13 th , Tommy Boucher 14 th , and the WMSC’s Broderick Thompson 15 th . Also for the WMSC, Daniel Kwon, Max Horner and Spencer Morris were 22 nd , 23 rd and 24 th .
In the K1 giant slalom, Makaela Shiffrin and Hana Saydekof the U.S. were first and third, with Ayumi Muranaka of Japan finishing with the silver medal. Alix Wells was the top Canadian in fifth place, followed by Roni Remme in 13 th and Hallie MacLachlan in 15 th .
From the WMSC, Emma King was 20 th , and Charley Field 30 th .
On the boys’ side, Max Hall of the U.S. took the gold medal, followed by Sho Miyazaki of Japan and Jacopo Micheli of Italy. The top Canadian was Peter Behncke of the Revelstoke club, followed by Alex Kreutz 11 th , Martin Grasic 12 th , and the WMSC’s Blake Ramsden 14 th . Also for the WMSC, Logan Pehota was 21 st , Brodie Seger 25 th and Samuel Kirshenblatt 29 th .
Two Canadians made the podium in the final day of racing, where racers had to contend with new snow and periods of fog. Morgan Megarry of Ontario picked up a silver medal in the slalom, behind Christian Juffinger and Paul Zimmermann of Austria. Other Canadians in the top-15 were Thomas Grand in fifth place, Michael Law ninth, Connor Whalen 13 th and Patrick Firth 15 th . Williams Konantz was 20 th for the WMSC, and Spencer Morris 28 th . Broderick Thompson just missed the top-30, finishing in 31 st place.
In the K1 slalom, U.S. skier Mikaela Shiffrin picked up her third medal, followed by Petra Vlhova of Slovakia and Ekaterina Tkachenko of Russia. Roni Remme was the top Canadian in fifth place, with Hillary Lloyd 11 th , Meredith Megarry 13 th , and Valerie Begin 15 th . For the WMSC, Charley Field was 18 th , Emma King 19 th , Rae Swette 21 st , Kelly Steeves 25 th , and Shawna Oser 26 th to round out the top-30. Sophie Cullen just missed the cut in 31 st .
For the boys, Hughston Norton of the U.S. and Roman Murin of Slovakia were first and second, followed by Karl Kuus of Ontario. Canadians in the top-15 include Austin Llewellyn in eighth place, Jack Hogarth 11 th , Mitchell Brunning 13 th and Shep Howatt 15 th . WMSC skiers in the top-30 include Blake Ramsden 19 th , Dalton Pehota 21 st , Sloan Sainas 25 th , and Samuel Kishenblatt 29 th . Kyle Yates was 31 st .
Following the races, awards were presented to the top men and women. The Nancy Greene Award, presented to the Canadian female skiers, went to K2 Gillian Chisholm and K1 Roni Remme. The Dave Murray Award, presented to the top Canadian men, went to K2 Ford Swette and K1 Edouard Dumas-Longpre.
Altogether the WMSC hosted close to 400 kids from 17 countries at this year’s Whistler Cup.