With eight World Cup medals
already this season, all of them in speed events, it might seem to an outsider
that Canadian speed programs emphasize speed over technical skills. In fact,
the opposite is true in Canada as speed events are usually introduced to FIS
level skiers, aged 15 or over —— anywhere from five to eight years later than
programs in Europe.
The one exception is the
Parsons Memorial Downhill, hosted since 1980 by the Whistler Mountain Ski Club.
The race is the only speed event in the regional series and in western Canada
for K2 racers aged 13-14. J1 racers, aged 15, also took part. For many
athletes, including current World Cup team members Manuel Osborne-Paradis,
Britt Janyk, and Robbie Dixon, the Parsons Memorial was their first opportunity
to race a speed event.
The event used to be a full
downhill, but in recent years has been changed to a super G race. This year’s
course was set up on Lower Cruiser with a finish line at Base II, giving riders
several opportunities to get into a tuck and let their skis go. There were also
a couple of jumps on the course, which would also be included on a World Cup
“Speed racing has everything
to do with confidence,” said WMSC program director Nigel Cooper. “When you
trust that you are in a safe, secure environment then you can let it all hang
out on the line in training and racing. With full netting in place the kids
will trust themselves to push the limits of their technical and tactical skills
and hammer hard for the best training effect and results in super G and
Although clubs from the Lower
Mainland and Vancouver Island took part, skiers with the WMSC won all 24 medals
handed out over two days of racing.
On Saturday, organizers got
off four races.
On the women’s side, the
podium for both races was the same — Mackenzie Patterson in first, Elyse
Timoshenko in second, and Marielle Thompson in third. Kailee Darlington was
credited as the most improved skier, starting in 27
placing fourth in both runs.
On the men’s side it was a
three-way battle between Ford Swette, Willy Konantz and Spencer Morris. Swette
led the way in both races to earn two gold medals, while Morris and Konantz
each won a silver and bronze.
On the second day of
competition organizers managed to get off another four races despite the 13 cm
snowfall on Saturday afternoon and evening.
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