Despite the participation of teams from Italy and Austria this year and some tough competition for the podium, Team Canada defended its overall Rio Tinto Alcan Whistler Cup title last weekend with some breakthrough performances by athletes.
This year a record 24 nations took part with roughly 375 athletes in K1 (age 11 and 12) and K2 (age 13 and 14) participating in three days of ski racing on Whistler Mountain.
A group of eight skiers was selected to represent Canada this year, while other Canadian athletes represented their provincial teams and clubs.
Each country is allowed to enter a national team with 10 athletes, with a maximum of six K2 skiers and a maximum of four K1s, and no more than four skiers of the same gender in each group. Only results in the top 15 count for points in the Nations Cup standings, ranging from 25 points for a win to just one point for 15 th .
The competition got underway on April 9 with the K1 athletes taking on a kombi course (mixed slalom and giant slalom) on the Dave Murray and the K2 athletes racing a super G on Raven/Ptarmigan.
Mikayla Martin of Squamish, racing for Team Canada and the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, pulled out a silver medal in the women's K1 kombi, finishing between Elisa Fornari of Italy and Mio Arai of Japan.
Representing the B.C. Ski Team Siobhan Finan of the WMSC placed eighth, while teammate Laura Swaffield was 15 th .
WMSC skiers in the top 30 include Stefanie Fleckenstein, 19 th , Sabrina Wong 20 th, Gabrielle Smith 28 th and Claire Baragar 30 th .
"It was fun to race it," said Martin. "I know this hill upside down and backwards."
Keegan Sharp of Invermere won the boy's Kombi, edging out Alberto Bengini of Italy and Filip Forejtek of Czech Republic.
The WMSC's Max Peiffer, racing for B.C., placed fifth and Riley Seger eighth.
Also in the top 30 for the WMSC was Alex Gershon in 20 th place out of 92 starters.
The WMSC's Emma King, racing for Team Canada, won the women's super G, just 0.11 ahead of Julia Grosshaupt of Austria. Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. took the bronze medal. Alix Wells of Prince George was the only other Canadian to crack the top-15, finishing in seventh place.
"It's the last race of the year and there is no pressure," said King. "I just did what the coaches told me during inspection and I guess it paid off."
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