U.S. Team takes Whistler Cup title 

WMSC’s Ford Swette on podium in super G, wins Dave Murray Award

click to enlarge BREAKING SWETTE The WMSC's Ford Swette became the first club skier to win a Whistler Cup race on Friday, placing first in the K2 super G. Photo by Scott Brammer, www.coastphoto.com
  • BREAKING SWETTE The WMSC's Ford Swette became the first club skier to win a Whistler Cup race on Friday, placing first in the K2 super G. Photo by Scott Brammer, www.coastphoto.com

Although the Canadian team didn’t manage to hold onto its overall nations title at the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup this past weekend, there was still a lot to celebrate — Canadian skiers on the podium every day, skiers crowding the top-15, and a third place finish ahead of 14 other nations.

The U.S. Team walked away with the overall title this year with 271 points, with Austria placing a distant second with 218. Canada, the top nation in 2007, was just nine points back of Austria.

On April 4, the opening day of racing, two Canadians made the podium.

Ford Swette, who races with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, and was the top B.C. racer the previous week at the K2 national championships, won the K2 (ages 13 to 14) super G.

“This is just fantastic,” he said. “I was really hoping to win today but I would have been happy with top five because there are a lot of strong guys here,” he said. “Today I was just thinking about skiing my best and I felt confident because in the past I have done well at the Whistler Cup. I seem to be able to perform well on race day, not because of pressure, but I really enjoy the intensity.

“We had a lot of great pre-race training this week with (national coaches) Mark Sharp and Benoit Lalande, and I also really want to thank my coaches, Pierre-Luc Dumoulin, Joanna Magee and Sean Frith.”

Andrew Kircher of the U.S. finished second to Swette, just 0.03 seconds back, while Christian Juffinger of Austria was third. Also from Canada, Geoffrey Sugar was fifth, Jerome Tremblay seventh, Morgan Megarry 12 th , and Michael Law 13 th . Williams Konantz also cracked the top-30 for the WMSC, placing 29 th out of 96 racers.

Canadians didn’t fare as well in the K2 women’s super G, with national champion Claudia Paquin-Ricard placing seventh. “I’m happy with how I skied today,” said Paquin-Ricard, who usually does better in technical events. “The course was very long and steep but I did make my goal of top-15.”

The win went to Valentina Volopichova of Czech Republic, followed by Greta Byrne of the U.S. and Ricarda Haaser of Austria.

The WMSC’s Mackenzie Patterson was 10 th , while Canadians Alizee Mayran and Chloe Gagnon rounded out the top-15 in 12 th and 13 th respectively.

For the K1 racers (ages 11 to 12), which took part in a kombi (mixed discipline) race, Ontario’s Roni Remme made the podium in third place, behind Mikaela Shiffrin and Hana Saydek of the U.S. Whistler’s Kaylie Higgs and Emma King were ninth and 13 th respectively, while Ontario’s Darquise Denis was 11 th , and B.C.’s Silken Rauhala 15 th .

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