For almost 40 years, the name of Bob Parsons has been synonymous with speed events for juvenile racers, dating back to his Back Bowl Downhill race series while working with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, to the memorial race series established in his name after his death 30 years ago.
The goal remains the same for the event's 30th anniversary - to give K2-aged racers (age 13 to 14) an opportunity to safely train and compete in speed disciplines at an earlier age, and to narrow the gap between programs in Europe and Canada. Britt Janyk, Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team are among the athletes that got their start racing speed events in the Parsons Memorial.
This past weekend, skiers from across the region - Mt. Washington, Lower Mainland Mountains and Whistler - took part in three timed super G events, with two days for inspection and speed training with safety nets on Thursday and Friday. The boys competed in two races on Saturday and one on Sunday, while the girls competed once on Saturday and twice on Sunday.
Athletes were clocked at over 70 km/h on the course.
When all was said and done, Kailee Darlington and Broderick Thompson of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club were presented with special Parsons Memorial awards as the top female and male racers over the weekend.
In the first girl's race on Saturday, the WMSC's Kaylie Higgs placed first in one minute, 18.42 seconds, over half a second ahead of teammate Kailee Darlington's time of 1:18.99. Amanda Birtig of Mt. Washington was third in 1:20.53.
In the second official race on Sunday, Kailee Darlington took the gold in 1:16.75, the second fastest time overall including the boy's race. Kaylie Higgs was second in 1:20.01, followed by the WMSC's Charley Field, who was fourth in the first race and moved up to third with a time of 1:21.57.
In the first boys' race, Spencer Curran of Grouse Mountain placed first in 1:17.59, followed by Liam Montgomery of Cypress in 1:17.93. The WMSC's Broderick Thompson was a close third in 1:17.99.
On Sunday, Thompson moved up to first place with a time of 1:16.02, followed by Spencer Curran in 1:17.18, and Cypress's Filip Kilibarda who crossed the line in 1:18.22.
Additional time allowed the organizers to stage two more unofficial timed racers. In the extra race on Saturday, Kailee Darlington took the win in 1:16.18, followed again by Kaylie Higgs with a time of 1:18.23 and Charley Field with a time of 1:21.26.
Broderick Thompson got faster with each run, and won the extra men's race on Sunday in a time of 1:14.55, followed by Kilibarda in 1:16.79 and Curran in 1:17.35.
Whistler athletes also managed several top-10 results. On the women's side, Emma King was fourth once and fifth twice, Sofi Leroux was fourth and sixth, Rae Swette was seventh and ninth, Elianne Taillefer was eighth twice and Alexander Perry 10th twice.
For the boys, John McIver was fourth, fifth and eighth, while Davis Wong was fifth, ninth and sixth and Matthew Segal was eighth, fourth and fifth. Brian Cadman was ninth in the first race, and in the second race Logan Pehota was eighth and Brodie Seger was 10th.
The next opportunity to race speed for many athletes is the Whistler Cup, from April 10 to 12.