Two-horse race for doubles luge title 

Sports briefs: Outerbike announces perks, Avalanche roll into finals and Humphries returns to podium

click to enlarge FILE PHOTO BY DAN FALLOON - Rockin' on Matt Riddle (shown here in singles competition at Whistler Sliding Centre in December) and Reid Watts can secure a Youth A Doubles World Cup title this weekend in Germany.
  • file PHOTO by Dan Falloon
  • Rockin' on Matt Riddle (shown here in singles competition at Whistler Sliding Centre in December) and Reid Watts can secure a Youth A Doubles World Cup title this weekend in Germany.

Only one team can catch local lugers Matt Riddle and Reid Watts for the FIL Youth A World Cup title.

But it's not going to take a lot to do it.

The pair's seventh-place finish in Innsbruck-Igls, Austria over the weekend (Jan. 30 and 31) allowed fellow Canadians Heath Karpyshyn and Evan Wildman to gain nine points and they now sit just 21 points back heading into the final race of the season this weekend (Feb. 6 and 7) in Winterberg, Germany.

Karpyshyn and Wildman, both of Calgary, placed fifth in Austria and are the only team that can catch Riddle and Watts.

In Austria, Riddle and Watts posted a two-run time of one minute, 28.457 (1:28.457) seconds, placing them 2.216 seconds behind winners Felix Schwarz and Lukas Gufler of Italy. Karpyshyn and Wildman, meanwhile, scored a 1:28.061.

On the Youth A men's side, local Adam Shippit continues to hold the advantage even though a 57th-place finish added just a single point to his total. American competitor Elijah Pedriani placed 10th to add 36 points and bring his sum to 267 points, 80 behind Shippit. The Pemberton product controls his own destiny, as he can clinch the title, regardless of Pedriani's performance, if he finishes 20th or higher.

Though officially out of the race for the crown, Squamish's Nicky Klimchuk-Brown vaulted himself into contention for second spot with an eighth-place performance in Igls to finish as the top Canadian. He posted a combined 1:21.297 to finish 0.837 seconds behind Germany's Lucas Geyer, who won his second race in a row.

Other Canadians were: Wildman (22nd), Carter Malyk (32nd) and Watts (54th). Riddle did not finish.

The Youth A women fared better overall, including Pemberton's Nicole Pidperyhora notching a 12th-place showing with a 1:22.199 combined time, 1.053 seconds behind winner Tina Mueller of Germany, celebrating her second straight triumph.

Calgary's Brooke Apshkrum and Kyla Graham finished fifth and seventh, respectively. Both have an outside shot at catching Russian Yulia Naumova's 390 points, but both would need a win, worth 100 points, and for Naumova to be shut out of the points in Winterberg. Graham has 294 points while Apshkrum has 290.

Up an age level in the junior women's category, Mount Currie's Jenna Spencer placed 13th with a time of 1:21.186, 0.488 seconds back of winner Julia Taubitz. Calgary's Rachel Klassen was seventh. Spencer and Klassen are ninth and 10th in the overall standings.

John Fennell was the only Canadian man to race in the junior division, but did not finish.

Outerbike details revealed

Whistler's inaugural Outerbike event is coming this summer.

The consumer bike demo, which started in Moab, Utah in 2010, is expanding northward this year with its debut in Whistler slated for June 4 to 7. Attendees will test-ride mountain and road bikes along the Sea to Sky's varied terrain throughout the festival. The demo site will be set up in Whistler Village.

Organizer Grant Lamont revealed some benefits for participants in a release on Feb. 2.

Participants will receive lift passes for three free rides on both Thursday and Friday. Any additional lift tickets will be available for 40 per cent off.

As well, the Longhorn Saloon will provide a daily breakfast buffet and an après for participants.

The release also noted a fundraiser, hosted by and Gibbons Life in support of WORCA's trail fund is also planned for June 6. More details are forthcoming.

Registration is $220 plus fees for the full demo event, while a social card for non-riders who want to participate in other Outerbike events is available for $100 plus fees.

To register or for more information, visit

Avalanche roll into finals

The Whistler Avalanche U15 boys will play for the Pioneer Cup.

The Avs emerged from the 4 District Soccer League's Gold 2 semifinal round with a 2-1 win over Burnaby's Cliff Avenue United Impact2000.

Whistler took an early advantage with a first-half goal from Taiga Lida. The final minutes were furious, as the game was tied late before Santiago Balthazar potted the winner with five minutes to go to secure the win.

The finals are set for Feb. 28 and March 1 at Burnaby Lake Sports Complex. The date, time and opponent are not yet confirmed as some other semifinal games were postponed due to inclement weather.

Luger Gough snags silver

Canadian star luger Alex Gough is climbing the Viessmann World Cup standings.

After missing the first two races of the season, the 27-year-old Calgarian has climbed up to fifth place in the overall standings. Gough scored her third silver medal of the season, sitting alongside a gold on her home track, in Lillehammer on Jan. 31.

En route to her 21st World Cup medal, Gough posted a two-run time of one minute, 35.732 seconds (1:35.732) to finish runner-up to Russia's Tatiana Ivanova, who notched a 1:35.306.

Gough had only raced at Lillehammer twice before, taking a bronze in 2013, and was happy overall with how she handled the quick track.

"It was really good today. I definitely fought for it," Gough said in a release. "I don't have a lot of experience here so I just tried to be consistent, and aerodynamic. I'm super happy with how I was able to do because I have not been here very much."

With three races to go, Gough is out of contention for the overall title, as Germany's Natalie Geisenberger has it sewn up with seven wins in nine starts.

However, Gough is just 126 points out of the second-place slot currently occupied by German Dajana Eitberger, who Gough has a chance of overtaking with more strong results.

A pair of other Calgary residents hit the top 10, with Kim McRae placing eighth and Arianne Jones ending up 10th.

The doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith ended up in seventh.

Humphries returns to podium

Bobsleigh driver Kaillie Humphries was back in the medals in France last Friday.

The Calgarian cruised to her third bronze medal of the season — and second with brakeman Melissa Lotholz — in La Plagne, France on Jan. 30.

The duo's two-run time of two minutes, 2.44 seconds (2:02.44) wasn't far off the 2:01.93 pace set by winners Elana Meyers Taylor and Cherrelle Garrett of the USA. Fellow Americans Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauryn Williams were second.

Humphries had raced at the track twice before, winning both times, and she feels she connects well with the Alpine valley track.

"I like this track a lot," Humphries said in a release. "Overall I'm really happy with our starts. We keep improving and are getting closer to these guys (American sleds)."



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