More than 300 young racers from almost 30 countries will be in town from April 6 to 8 to compete in the ninth annual Whistler Cup, an international FIS juvenile series of races that has been an important starting point in the careers of numerous World Cup athletes.
Croatias Janica Kostelic, the 2001 World Cup slalom champion, Swedens Anja Paerson, Austrias Benjamin Raich and Canadas Allison Forsyth are among the long list of athletes who competed in the Whistler Cup on their way to assuming starring roles on their national teams.
K1 (ages 11 and 12) and K2 (ages 13 and 14) athletes will compete in slalom and giant slalom events over the weekend. For the first time in the history of the event, organizers were forced to cancel the super-G due to a lack of snow cover on the race course. It will be replaced with an additional giant slalom.
With provincial and national teams present, Canadians will account for up to 150 of the athletes represented in the races.
Although the bulk of the medals went to the strong European skiers last year, Canadians managed to win three medals. K2 racers Nathan Crompton and Graham Kraft of Vernon, B.C., won a silver and bronze for Team Canada, and K1 racer Francis Fortin-Houle of Quebec won gold in the slalom. While Crompton and Kraft have moved on, Fortin-Houle will return this year to defend his title.
The B.C. Alpine Ski Association has already selected both K1 and K2 provincial athletes to compete in the Whistler Cup, including 32 skiers from Whistler:
Matthew Holler (Team Canada)