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Whistler skiers named to BC Ski Team



BC Alpine released its official team list last week, and as usual members of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club were prominent in the selections. There are six WMSC alums on the team this year, including two skiers with Alpine Canada's national team Prospect Group.

On the women's team, the WMSC will be represented by Charley Field and Emma King, both 17. They will be joined by Sarah Freeman (Fernie), Sarah Elliot (Big White), Alix Wells (Prince George), Stephanie Gartner (Fernie) and Haillie MacLachlan (Fernie).

On the men's team, the prospects are Whistler's Ford Swette, 19, and Broderick Thompson, 18, along with WMSC skiers Brodie Seger, 17, and Blake Ramsden, 17. They will be joined by Tyler Werry, of Fernie, also a member of the prospect group, as well as Fernie's Roger and Patric Carry, Windermere's Martin Grasic and Dominic Unterberger of the Revelstoke Ski Club.

"I am extremely excited about this year's BC Ski Team," said head coach Brandon Dyksterhouse. "We've had great leadership from our veterans Tyler Werry and Ford Swette, and our youngsters are showing real promise as well. Our four 17-year-olds (Patric Carry, Martin Grasic, Blake Ramsden and Brodie Seger) were all podium athletes at J1 Nationals last season and are well prepared to cut their teeth on the NorAm circuit."

The team will race on the NorAm Cup circuit, as well as FIS races and nationals.

Ironman Canada seeking volunteers

Ironman Canada is one of the most difficult events in the country to stage, requiring more volunteers than athletes most years to produce. Organizers need everything from safety kayaks for swimmers to people to cut fruit and fill cups at aid stations, to people to help out athletes at the finish line of the race which includes a 3.8km swim, 180km bike ride and 42.2km marathon.

With Ironman Canada moving from Penticton to Whistler for the 31st anniversary on Aug. 25, 2013, the race will lose most of the volunteers that made it one of the top events in the world. To bolster volunteer numbers back to over 3,000, the Ironman organizers are hosting a volunteer meeting at 7 p.m., Dec. 5 at the Whistler Conference Centre.

Among other things, the organizers are recruiting 100 volunteer captains to ensure a safe and fun event. No triathlon experience is required, and there are a large variety of positions available. As well, volunteering for the sold-out 2013 race is the best way to ensure a spot for 2014, as volunteers get priority registration.

This year's race will attract a lot of interest as a designated P-2000 event with a total prize purse of $75,000 U.S. up for grabs. As well, there are 100 age group lots available for the 2013 Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on Oct. 12, 2013. Volunteers can contact

Ski patrollers concerned by unprepared people in the backcountry

With early season conditions still in effect, Whistler Blackcomb ski patrol is pleased that people are generally keeping within the boundaries, or at least on groomed runs. "It's been pretty good this year so far, knock on wood," said Peter Jean, the assistant safety manager for Whistler Blackcomb. "We're still seeing people skiing out below the boundary to get to the valley, but for the most part there's so little snow at the lower elevations that people are sticking to the groomed runs and downloading from Olympic Station or Base II."

With snow depths shallow at lower elevations, a lot of people are heading into the alpine to go ski touring, despite the fact that the area is currently closed and none of the high alpine lifts are turning. While they can't stop people from using the backcountry outside the resort's boundaries, Jean said that some people are clearly not prepared.

While the avalanche risk is moderate, Jean said there have been several out-of-bounds avalanches in certain terrain, and he is advising everyone to check the daily bulletin issued by Whistler Blackcomb ski patrol as well as the updates for the area posted by the Canadian Avalanche Centre (

No passes have been taken yet as a result of people heading into avalanche closures, "but the season is still young," said Jean.