Whistler K2s reach podium at Grouse 

The CIBC Wood Gundy series got underway at Grouse Mountain last weekend with men's and women's giant slalom races on Saturday and Sunday. The races were put on for K2 racers (age 13-14), although some J1 racers (age 15-16) from Zone 5 teams also took part.

Georgia Simmerling of the Grouse Mountain Tyees was solid on both days, earning a pair of gold medals by a sizeable margin. The Whistler Mountain Ski Club racers all but dominated the other podium positions, as well as the top-15.

The weather was a huge inconvenience for everybody, with some tough snow on Saturday forcing the officials to go with a one-run format instead of the usual two runs. On Sunday, the skiers faced thick fog and intense rain - conditions that Whistler skiers have seen their share of in recent weeks.

"One, I'm really impressed with how they were skiing," said K2 head coach Rob Boyd. "Two, I'm really impressed with them for putting up with that bloody weather.

"I just have to say a big thank you to the race organizers, the volunteers, the gate keepers who sat out the race, and helped both days to go off."

Although Whistler's J1 racers didn't participate, Boyd was glad to see them in the contest. ""I think it's good to have them in every now and then to help out the points. It's also good to let the other skiers see the FIS kids and get a look at how fast they're skiing. And if they beat the FIS kids, which a couple of our skiers did, it feels pretty good."

In the first men's race on Saturday, the top spots when to J1 racers Jeff Hutton of Grouse and Marc Hollley of Hemlock. The WMSC's Morgan Pridy was third overall, and first among the K2 racers.

Fourth place went to Troy Kelly of Seymour, who rounded out the J1 podium.

The next two racers were Whistler's North Jones and Smith Milner, who finished second and third among the K2s.

K2s Scott Harrison and Michael Dekur also made the top-15, finishing eighth and 14 th respectively.

The women's GS went to K2 Georgia Simmerling by almost 1.8 seconds. Whistler's Victoria Whitney and Katrina Dekur, both K2s, were second and third overall.

Six other Whistler K2s made the top-15 - Kristen Dekur, Sarah Marshall, Christina Disler and Deborah Bayliss were fifth through eighth, and Calindy Ramsden and Elizabeth Parry were 10 th and 11 th respectively.

The top three spots in the men's GS on Sunday when to Lower Mainland J1s, with Jeff Hutton of Grouse, Marc Holley of Hemlock and Michael Petrik of Grouse finishing first, second and third overall.

The top K2 in fourth overall was Whistler's Michael Kearney. North Jones earned another K2 silver medal, and Matt Lively of Grouse was third.

K2 Ben Podborski was 11 th for Whistler, Michael Dekur was 13 th and Benjamin MacLean was 15 th .

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club is back in action this weekend at Cypress Bowl. This time it's the K1 team (ages 11-12), under head coach Sead Causevic, that will be taking part in three GS events.

The K2's will be heading to Silver Star for a speed camp this weekend. Their next race is the Enquist Slalom at Mount Seymour in a couple of weeks.


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