Mike and Manny to hold charity race 

Debut competition becomes major fundraiser for Janyk's and Osbourne-Paradis's foundation

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Giving back Former Olympic ski racer Mike Janyk is excited about the first annual dual slalom he is holding for his charity the Mike & Manny Foundation.
  • File photo by Dan Falloon
  • Giving back Former Olympic ski racer Mike Janyk is excited about the first annual dual slalom he is holding for his charity the Mike & Manny Foundation.

The gala dinner is a classic non-profit fundraiser.

And it was financially effective for the Mike & Manny Foundation.

But it just didn't quite ring true for namesakes and Canadian World Cup skiers Mike Janyk and Manny Osborne-Paradis.

That's why the Whistler Mountain Ski Club grads changed things up for 2015, opting to host a dual slalom race as part of Whistler Cup festivities on April 4. The race will take place from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. with an après at the Longhorn Saloon and Grill.

"The last four years, we've done a dinner in the city," Janyk noted. "We had an opportunity to shift and make it more skiing-based.

"We feel it fits more, aligns more, resonates more to do a ski event, which will be cool."

Racers have a chance to win a Whistler Blackcomb season pass for 2015-16, while there will be prizes for the fastest overall racers, masters (40+) racers and U16 racers in both male and female divisions.

Janyk, who turned 33 on March 22, started the foundation with Osborne-Paradis in 2007, inviting youth to Whistler to participate in a camp every year for talented and passionate skiers who may be in financial need.

"(We want) the individual, in their passion for their sport, to sort of in a sense embody Mike and Manny," he said. "Manny has an incredible joie de vivre and passion for the sport.

"It's designed for ski racers who might not necessarily be able to afford an offseason camp."

Janyk said participants have come from as far away as Nova Scotia. When he and Osborne-Paradis started the initiative, he said he had no idea it would have the impact it has.

"It's amazing to see how we've had a positive effect on ski racing. We just thought 'Hey, let's give back. We've been supported in our careers by our community members,'" he said. "(It's gratifying) to have parents come up and say it's inspired a ski club to continue and move on, or have someone like (University of Alaska at Anchorage skier) Charley Field who was going to retire, but came to our camp, got super stoked on it and made the B.C. team after that.

"It's a wide spectrum. You never know what you're going to get."

With entries set at $100 a racer, Janyk hopes to raise a base of $10,000 through the event, but if additional donations push the total beyond the $12,000 it costs to run the camp for a year, he wouldn't complain.

"It allows us to keep providing opportunities for the next generation," he said.

As a former ski racer who cut his teeth with the British Columbian side at the Whistler Cup before going on to race in three Winter Olympics, Janyk appreciates the opportunity to align the fundraiser alongside the races, which will bring together some of the best young skiers from across the globe.

"It's a phenomenal event and hats off to the guys for putting it on for so many years and continuing it," he said. "I have a personal connection to it, so I think it's cool, but I also feel it's cool for the community to bring it in."



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