Whistler and Canada's top young skiers headed into the Whistler Cup this year determined to win back the trophy — and they didn't disappoint.
Both Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) team members and their counterparts from clubs across Canada raced hard in challenging conditions and took the Whistler Cup with 267 points across three days of racing. Norway finished second with 178 points, and Japan placed third with 127.
Canada won the Whistler Cup, presented by Rio Tinto Alcan, four out of five years prior to 2012, but lost the title to Switzerland last year, so reclaiming top honours was particularly sweet for a determined team skiing in front of a home crowd.
"I'm really excited," said Nigel Cooper, Alpine Canada's manager of athlete development. "I think the Japanese, the Italians, and the Norwegians represent a good part of some of the best skiing nations in the world. Overall the field through to the top 10 is pretty strong, so I think that our top three girls and boys on Team Canada really strutted their stuff."
Amelia Smart, 15, of Invermere, B.C., was presented with the Nancy Greene Award, which is given to the top overall Canadian girl who accumulated the most points over three days, while the Dave Murray Award for the top Canadian boy went to Jack Crawford, 15, of Toronto, Ont., who trains with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club. In the U14 category, Brianna MacDonald, of the Osler Bluff Ski Club, was presented with the Nancy Greene Award for top overall female, while WMSC's Finn Iles earned the Dave Murray Award. Japan took top overall honours as a nation in the U14 category.
On Friday April 5, Canada swept the U16 men's super-G podium and won silver and bronze in ladies' U16 super-G.
WMSC's Crawford battled damp, foggy race conditions en route to gold in the men's category, while Riley Seger also of WMSC took silver, and Vancouver's Sam Mulligan earned bronze.
In the ladies' super-G — which was delayed intermittently over several hours due to rolling fog — Stephanie Currie of Toronto, Ont., earned silver as the top-placing Canadian (1:05:03).
Haley McKercher of Calgary, Alta., was third. The Sunshine Ski Club racer, 16, finished in 1:05.24.
Norway's Kajsa Lie Vickhoff was the ladies' super-G winner (1:04.06).
U14 racers also took to the slopes Friday to compete in the Kinder Kombi, which was a race that featured turns and skills from multiple racing disciplines. In the ladies' race, MacDonald took gold (42.07), while Japan's Chelsea Kumono claimed silver (42.57) and Saya Ohkoshi, also of Japan, earned bronze (42.82).
In the men's U14 race, WMSC's Kasper Woolley and Iles were first (41.88) and second (42.39), respectively, and Hunter Watson, who skis with the Camp Fortune Ski Club, was third (43.13).