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Whistler skies on podium in FIS speed races

Parsons Memorial to run next week on Blackcomb

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After a handful of regional races to get their feet wet, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club FIS team took the plunge into their competitive season with a speed series at Apex from Feb. 3 to 6.

In the men’s Mars FIS downhill on Feb. 3, the WMSC’s Robbie Dixon and Ben Chaddock, who are also competing for the B.C. Ski Team, finished second and sixth respectively. Marcus Waring was eighth.

In the J1 category (age 15-16), Whistler’s J.D. McLean finished first, followed by teammate Conrad Pridy.

In the women’s downhill, Charlotte Whitney, Alison Leighton and Danielle Robson, all from the B.C. Ski Team and WMSC, were fifth, sixth and ninth respectively. The top J1 girls were Julia Murray in sixth and Jen Mah in 11 th .

In the men’s super G on Friday, Dixon was sixth, Chaddock eighth and Waring 10 th . Sven Winter was the top J1 in seventh.

Christina Risler, a WMSC alumnus and member of the national development team, was fourth in the women’s super G. Leighton was ninth and Robson 11 th . Julia Murray blew away the other J1’s to win a gold medal in her category.

In the second super G the following day, Chaddock moved up to claim a bronze, while Waring finishing 10 th . Pridy took the J1 bronze and J.D. McLean was sixth.

For the women, Leighton was sixth and Whitney 12 th . Mah claimed a bronze for the J1’s, while Murray was seventh.

The Mars series gave way to the CIBC Wood Gundy Nor Am races on Sunday.

Leighton dropped to 18 th in the super G, while Danielle Robson and Julia Murray were 20 th and 21 st respectively. Charlotte Whitney was 24 th .

The next major event on the calendar is the 26 th annual Bob Parsons Memorial Downhill and Super G, Whistler’s longest running alpine race.

Open to K2’s (age 13-14) and J1’s, the races were created to give younger skiers a safe and fun opportunity to test themselves in speed events.

The Parsons Memorial runs from Feb. 23 to 25 on Blackcomb, with a training day and a pair of super G events.

The original plan was to hold two downhill and two super G events, but because of the snow conditions and lack of hill space, the organizers had to cancel the downhill events. In addition, the course will be moved up the mountain from Lower Cruiser to Ross’s Gold.

Bob Parsons and his brother Stan grew up in Vancouver, competing in jumping, Nordic and alpine events at Hollyburn and Seymour mountains. Shortly after Whistler Mountain opened the Parsons family became members of the fledgling Whistler Mountain Ski Club.

As Bob’s children started to race, he travelled with the team to help prepare and set up the courses. He formed and led the Weasel Workers group, which is still active in preparing and maintaining World Cup courses. This season the Weasels have helped prep courses for the annual World Cup races at Lake Louise and the FIS Alpine World Championships in Bormio, Italy.

For the WMSC, Parsons also created the juvenile Back Bowl race series on Whistler Mountain.

Bob was the Chief of Course for all major downhill races at Whistler until his death in 1979.

The following year the first Bob Parsons Memorial Downhill was held. Although the event has moved runs and mountains, has added a super G component, and is now part of the CIBC Wood Gundy series for Zone 5, the focus of the race continues to be the development of young skiers.

Funding is raised for the series at an annual golf tournament. Bursaries will also be presented to up and coming racers at the awards ceremony on Friday.

Wednesday, Feb. 23 will be the training day, and competitions will run on Feb. 24 and 25.

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