The Whistler Mountain Ski Club hit the slopes flying this past weekend at Mt. Washington, as K1, K2, and J1 athletes from the club took part in the Vancouver Sun Coast Zone Giant Slalom and Slalom races.
Whistler skiers dominated the podium, winning 44 out of a possible 48 medals. That’s too many athletes on the podium and in the top-10 for an article, but complete results are posted online at www.bcalpine.com.
For the K2 (age 13 to 14) team: Mackenzie Patterson won two gold medals in GS and a silver in the slalom. Joceyln Ramsden won a silver in GS and slalom. Kailee Darlington won a silver and bronze in GS, and two gold medals in slalom. Elyse Timoshenko won two bronze medals in slalom. Eve Zessel won bronze in GS.
For the J1 girls, Marielle Thompson was the fastest racer in the GS and slalom.
For the girls K1 team (ages 11 to 12), Kaylie Higgs won a gold medal in GS, and a gold in the slalom. Charley Field won gold and silver in GS, and a gold in slalom. Emma King won silver and bronze in GS. Morgan McGaw won a bronze in GS. Picabo Reeves won gold and bronze in slalom. Rae Swette won silver in slalom. Sophie Cullen earned bronze in slalom.
For the K2 boys, Ford Swette won two gold medals in GS, and a silver in slalom. Willy Konantz won silver in both GS races, and a gold in slalom. Joshua Robertson won a bronze in GS. Spencer Morris won the other GS bronze medal, and a silver in the slalom. Max Horner won the bronze in slalom.
For the J1 Boys, Tyler Allison won the first GS, and Tyler Sawchyn the second. They also split wins in the slalom races.
In K1 Boys, Blake Ramsden won gold and silver in GS. Logan Pehota won silver and bronze in GS, and a gold and silver in slalom. Brodie Seger won a bronze in GS, and a gold and silver in slalom.
The K2 and J1 athletes will be back in action this weekend, Jan. 26-27, for the annual Bob Parsons Memorial Downhill, which is in its 28 th year in Whistler. For many skiers from the Coast Zone, including Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumni like Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Britt Janyk, the Parsons Downhill was their first opportunity to race in a speed event. Both athletes have two podiums to their credit in World Cup downhill races.
“Some of my best memories as a young racer are from my first Parsons Downhill event,” said Janyk. “It is such a great, safe opportunity for young skiers to get a feel for the speed disciplines. I believe that being able to do some speed races at that age helped my skiing tremendously.”
Willy Raine, technical director at the WMSC, says it’s all about being comfortable.
“The goal of the Parsons Downhill is to safely introduce athletes to skiing at higher speeds while negotiating turns, rollers and jumps. For many of the athletes the biggest challenge they need to overcome is fear as athletes will reach speeds of 110 km/h.”
Because of logistics the races were downgraded from downhill events to super G races, which don’t require as much vertical, and have a few more turns to control speeds.
The races take place on the Lower Cruiser run on Blackcomb, followed by awards each day at 3:30 p.m. near Base II.
The event is named for Bob Parsons, who started ski racing out of Vancouver in the 1940s, and who brought his children to the Whistler Mountain Ski Club in the late 1960s. As a ski dad, he traveled from race to race to help out, and is credited with helping to form the Weasel Workers crew that has provided logistical support for World Cup races throughout Canada for more than three decades. Parsons was himself the chief of course for every major downhill race to take place at Whistler, until his death in 1979.
He also helped to organize the Back Bowl downhills for juvenile racers, and the first Bob Parsons Memorial Downhill was held in 1980 to continue his legacy.