Whistler skiers push for Enquist Slalom podium 

Sports briefs: Spencer, Watts post strong finishes at Junior Luge World Championships

click to enlarge first finisher
  • first finisher

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club's (WMSC) U16 racers hit the road for their first race away from home this season, travelling to the 78th annual Enquist Slalom Cup held at Apex, where they posted a number of strong finishes.

Whistler's Laura Swaffield won the girls' race held Saturday, Feb. 1, and was challenging for another victory on Feb. 2 but ended up skiing out. Gabrielle Smith ended up being Whistler's top racer in the girls' cup standings, finishing third overall after placing fourth on Saturday and third on Sunday. Katie Fleckenstein earned a fourth-place finish on Sunday, while Jasmin Smallwood notched a top-10 finish on Saturday.

In boys' racing, Finn Iles and Max Kirshenblatt each picked up bronze medals during the weekend. Kasper Woolley joined Iles and Kirshenblatt in the top 10 on both days, while Whistler skiers Griffin Renzoni, Alexander Valentin, Nikola Filipovic, Asher Jordan, Griffin Smith and Kyle Alexander all took turns in the top 10 as well.

"The team showed good charge, and numerous athletes pushed the racing line," said WMSC coach Jeff MacLennan. "The experience gained will stand the team in good stead preparing for the provincial championships in two weeks' time."

SPENCER 16th AT WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS

Jenna Spencer raced to a 16th-place finish at the Junior Luge World Championships last weekend at Igls, Austria, to lead the group of Sea to Sky sliders participating at this year's event.

Spencer's two-run time left her eight-tenths of a second back of the winning women's time set by Italy's Andrea Votter. Spencer also improved on her result from last year's world championships, when she placed 17th at Park City, Utah.

Pemberton's Nicole Pidperyhora also competed at Igls and finished 27th, coming up just short of the top 25 who advanced to a second run.

Whistler's Reid Watts made his first world championship appearance in the junior men's race and finished 20th. Fellow local slider Nicky Klimchuk-Brown finished 25th.

DOZENS OUT FOR SPUD VALLEY LOPPET

The 25th edition of the Spud Valley Loppet saw nearly 100 skiers take on the 12-kilometre classic cross-country course in Pemberton on Sunday, Feb, 2.

The top finishers were a mix of youth and adult racers, with Sam Schranz ultimately taking the No. 1 spot with a time of 35 minutes, 43 seconds. Benita Peiffer and Jessica Aldighieri respectively finished second and third overall, both within three seconds of Schranz's time.

Also not far behind were fourth and fifth-place finishers Tony and Alisa Feuz, both less than 15 seconds back. Kaede Kawano and Rich Prohaska were the only other skiers to finish in less than 40 minutes.

Visit www.spudvalleynordics.com for full results.

ONE-TWO FINISH FOR BATHGATES

Whistler's Cooper and Jackson Bathgate finished first and second, respectively, at the Jim Jack's Cowboy Up Freeride Challenge over the weekend at Steven's Pass, Wash., for the second year in a row. Tom and Liam Peiffer skied to fourth and fifth place, while Talia Metzler placed third in the girls' 12 to 14 age group.

Local freeriders will be in action at home this weekend for the GoPro Junior Freeski Challenge, running Feb. 7 to 10 on Blackcomb.

TELEMARK FESTIVAL RETURNS

The B.C. Telemark Ski Association has circled Feb. 22 on its calendar for the third annual Whistler Telemark Ski Festival this year. Dozens of telemark skiers of all ages and ability levels have come out for the previous two editions of the festival and this year's event should be no different.

The day's schedule features an introduction and instruction in the morning, whether you're a first-timer or an experienced knee-dropper. The afternoon gives participants a chance to ski on a GS course and other activities, all to be followed by après at the Brewhouse.

Visit www.bctelemark.com to register or learn more.

NIMBY SIGN-UP TIME

Mountain bike racers take notice: registration for the fifth anniversary edition of the Nimby Fifty is about to open.

Online sign-up goes live on Feb. 15, and with just 420 spots available on the start line, you won't want to miss out. The early bird price of $80, which includes a $5 trail fee, will be available until April 20.

To learn more about the gruelling Pemberton race, scheduled for May 31, visit www.nimbyfifty.com.

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