School trip to World Cup bring let’s kids cheer heroes on in person 

Hometown race bring smiles to Canadian competitors

click to enlarge More Cowbell Myrtle Philip students enjoy men's super G at last week's World Cup.
  • More Cowbell Myrtle Philip students enjoy men's super G at last week's World Cup.

It was definitely one of the best school field trips Myrtle Philip’s Grade 7 class has taken so far.

“It’s awesome,” said Jake Allison as he got ready to watch the world’s best men ski World Cup super G on Whistler last week.

“I’m just so excited. This gets the kids aware of what will happen at the Olympics and this is really fun to watch.

“I guess this is in my genes,” added Allison, who is racing with the successful Whistler Mountain Ski Club and who’s dad Bob Allison was on the national ski team.

For mom Corinne the race is a chance for her son to see his heroes in the flesh.

“The ski racers that they see on TV become heroes and legends for them and Jake, he memorizes the racers and he knows exactly where they place, so for him to see it live is very exciting,” she said.

The visit to the World Cup was organized by the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympics (VANOC) and Alpine Canada.

As the class continued to cheer, occasionally shielding their eyes from the brilliant sunshine beating down on the Whistler Mountain course, Canadian ski racers sauntered past their VIP bleacher seats. But when hometown hero Mike Janyk walked by the kids couldn’t stay put and quickly surrounded him for autographs.

“Sure I’ll sign,” he said, asking the score of students to pass him their cowbells to autograph.

“It is an unbelievable course,” he said. “It is one of the best super G’s for sure on the World Cup. It is fast, there is a lot of terrain, and it goes in and out of shadows. It is really cool to show the world what we can do here in Whistler.

“And it is so nice to come home and to see these kids here is great. I think it is going to be something special for the Olympics, that is for sure.”

Janyk, who is recovering from a back injury, skied the super G as a forerunner.

Nigel Cooper Program director Whistler Mountain ski Club couldn’t agree more with Janyk’s assessment.

“I am elated,” he said, barely audible over the cacophony of cowbell ringing that greeted every Canadian racer from the close to 400 spectators at the day’s race.

“When we see the kids like Jake Allison with a smile from ear to ear, that is really the reason we go out there every weekend and pound away at the gates.

“We hope they will be here one day racing like (alumni Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon).

“It was only 10 to 12 years ago that Manny and Robbie were racing in our program, and that is a not a long time ago.

“This is where ski racing is meant to be, this is where it started, and this is where it should stay.”

For Alpine Canada bringing kids to these events just makes sense.

“Encouraging kids to get into the sport is an integral part of what Alpine Canada does and what Alpine Canada stands for,” said spokesperson Kyle Marr.

“Inviting kids to ski racing and giving kids the opportunity that the kids from Myrtle Philip had today is exactly the type of thing we want to do.”

Said Tim Gayda, VANOC’s managing director for sport: “The more we can engage the community the better result we will have for this event and also for the (2010) Games themselves.

“From out point of view exposing kids to the sport… is number one.”

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