Norway wins U16 Nations' Cup after Solbakken sweep 

Japan awarded U14 trophy

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ERIC THOMPSON - Team Norway celebrates its U16 Nations' Cup in Whistler Village on Sunday.
  • Photo by Eric Thompson
  • Team Norway celebrates its U16 Nations' Cup in Whistler Village on Sunday.

The Whistler Cup is certainly a team event.

But that doesn't mean amazing individual performances are lacking.

Norway was awarded the U16 Nations' Cup in Whistler Village on Sunday afternoon, and one major reason for it was the performance on Mikkel Solbakken.

Solbakken, 15, swept all three races to help Norway surge past Team Canada for the award.

In Sunday's giant slalom, Solbakken bested second-place teammate Lucas Braathen by 3.12 seconds for the win. His narrowest margin of victory came Friday, when he beat Markus Fossland in the super-G by 2.06 seconds, a relative sliver.

"It's very fun to have such a strong team in the Whistler Cup," said Solbakken, who was competing in the event for the first time.

Solbakken wasn't surprised he won gold in Whistler, but to take all three was admittedly unexpected.

Head coach Ola Masdal was proud of all the racers, as the country posted 15 top-15 finishes to count towards the Nations' Cup, including seven podium finishes.

"They were focused and were always performing at the top level," Masdal said. "You never know what other people are going to do. I knew our team could do well."

Japan, meanwhile, took the U14 trophy.

There were five individual awards handed out to Canadian skiers for their showings in the event.

Whistler Mountain Ski Club's (WMSC) Kyle Alexander (U16) and Sun Peaks' Liam Applegath (U14) won the respective Dave Murray Awards for their divisions, while Montreal's Catherine Dufresne (U16) and Toronto's Daisy Taylor took the Nancy Greene Awards on the ladies' side.

Big White's Brooke Lukinuk, lastly, won the Lynne Hume Dedication Award and the $1,000 scholarship that goes with it.

In Sunday's races, Japan's Hiroto Hasebe was third behind Solbakken and Braathen in the U16 men's giant slalom. Canadians Justin Vittecoq, Liam Wallace (Alberta), WMSC's Asher Jordan, Jamie Casselman, Hunter Watson and Gavin Donald all made the top 10.

As for the U16 girls' slalom, Czech Republic's Nikola Bubakova was victorious for the second day in a row, holding off Dufresne and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Elvedina Muzaferija. WMSC's Katie Fleckenstein and fellow Canadians Stephanie Profitt, Kristina Natalenko and Tia Kattler (Alberta) all made the top 10.

In the U14 men's giant slalom, WMSC's Nathan Romanin made the top five for the third straight day, finishing fifth. Japan's Kai Terashima won, besting Chileans Nicolas Pirozzi and Diego Holscher. Canadians Kieran McKee (Ontario), Ben Smegal (Ontario) and Mark Konigsmann (Cypress Mountain) all made the top 10.

In the U14s, Toronto's Taylor hit the podium with a third-place finish behind Hungary's Szonja Hozmann and Australia's Sammie Gaul. Fellow Canadians Avery Lebsack (Lake Louise), Charlie Comeau (Ontario), Olivia Carrier (Quebec) and WMSC's Maja Woolley (BC) made the top 10.

Complete results are available at



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