By Andrew Mitchell
Racers from the Coast Zone couldn’t have asked for a better two days of racing this past weekend, as the Whistler Mountain Ski Club hosted the 27 th annual Parsons Memorial Downhill. The sun was out at the start line, an alpine inversion bumped up the temperature a few degrees, and the shaded part of the course held up despite the warmer weather and sheer number of skiers.
The race is the only speed event on the schedule for the K2 racers, aged 13 to 14. The event is named after Bob Parsons, who used to run the Back Bowl Downhill events in Whistler to give younger racers an opportunity to train and race speed events in a safe, controlled environment. After his death in 1979 the events were continued as the Parsons Memorial Downhill.
This past weekend on Blackcomb there were two men’s races and a women’s race on Saturday, and two women’s races and one men’s race on Sunday.
According to Whistler Mountain Ski Club program director Nigel Cooper, this year’s super G course was as tough as they come.
“I think our skiers did great, it was a really tough course,” he said. “Usually we’d be running Ptarmigan in April when there’s some sun on it, and it’s a bit softer with better light.
“The course was in the shade for most of the weekend and it’s not an easy hill. The snow was super-duper for racing, and the kids were out there doing 90 to 100 kilometres an hour. If you can’t see all the bumps and ripples because you’re in the shade, and you’re still going for it, that’s a good thing.”
In six races, Whistler skiers claimed all but two medals.
In the first women’s race on day one, Madison McLeish of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club was quickest in 1:06.01, 3.6 seconds faster than teammate Kelsi Francisty. Jenny Rea made it a podium sweep in 1:10.16.
Rounding out the top-10 with the WMSC were Elyse Timoshenko in fourth, Catriona Blair seventh, Jocelyn Ramsden ninth, and Marielle Thompson 10 th out of 38 racers.
In the first men’s race, Michael Cadman, Isaac Penn and William Konantz of the WMSC took the top three spots with times of 1:04.93, 1:05.41 and 1:05.43. Spencer Morris was sixth, Patrick Taillefer seventh, Ford Swette eighth and Joshua Robertson 10 th .
In the second race Ryan Hotte of Mt. Washington took the gold medal in 1:05.41, just 0.07 seconds faster than Isaac Penn. Patrick Taillefer picked up the bronze in 1:06.17.
Rounding out the top-10 were Michael Cadman in fourth, Spencer Morris sixth, Eric Holler eighth, Joshua Robertson ninth and Ford Swette 10 th .
In the first women’s race Sunday Madison McLeish picked up her second gold medal of the weekend, this time in a time of 1:05.56 with a gap of 2.65 seconds. Teammates Kelsi Francisty and Elyse Timoshenko were second and third in 1:08.21 and 1:09.18.
Jocelyn Ramsden was fourth, Jenny Rea fifth, Bria Darlington ninth and Taylor Green 10 th .
The podium was the same in the second race, with McLeish picking up gold medal number three in 1:06.25, Kelsi Francisty was second in 1:09.54, and Timoshenko third in 1:10.12. Jenny Rea was fifth, Jocelyn Ramsden sixth, and Bria Darlington 10 th .
In Sunday’s men’s race, Michael Cadman picked up his gold medal in 1:04.50, while Spencer Morris came away with the bronze in 1:06.73. Ryan Hotte of Grouse won the silver in 1:05.66.
William Konantz was fourth, Finlay Smith fifth, Adian Lee sixth, Joshua Robertson seventh, and Eric Holler ninth.
At the end of the weekend McLeish and Cadman were presented plaques as the overall winners of the weekend.
“(Saturday) I won the first race, but I made some mistakes in the second one and finished fourth. Today my goal was to fix those mistakes and win again,” said Cadman. “The snow was really fast today, but I thought the set was quite tight so we couldn’t go as fast as we would on a straighter course.”
McLeish credited her results to her inspections.
“A good inspection is the key for me,” she said. “I take as long as I’m given for my inspection and I treat it like a run, so that by the time I’m ready to race I know the course like I’ve already skied it before. I find this really helps my confidence.”
This weekend several K2 athletes will be heading to Nakiska, Alberta with head coach Pierre Luc Domoulin to represent B.C. in the K2 Gold Cup against the top skiers from Alberta. The athletes that qualified for the team are Michael Cadman, Taylor Green, Willy Konantz, Madison McLeish, Spencer Morris, MacKenzie Patterson, Isaac Penn, Jocelyn Ramsden, Jenny Rea, Ford Swette, Joshua Robertson, and Patrick Taillerfer.
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