Whistler skiers secure Parsons awards 

Sports briefs: Wins for Kirshenblatt, Fleckenstein lead great week of WMSC results

click to enlarge PHOTO SUBMITTED - fast fleckenstein Katie Fleckenstein competes in the Bob Parsons Memorial speed races in Whistler, for which she was the top female skier of the series.
  • photo submitted
  • fast fleckenstein Katie Fleckenstein competes in the Bob Parsons Memorial speed races in Whistler, for which she was the top female skier of the series.

Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) athletes had races across B.C. over the past week, including the 35th annual Bob Parsons Memorial speed races right here in Whistler, running March 7 to 9.

The host club received tremendous performances from many skiers in the U16 races, led by Max Kirshenblatt and Katie Fleckenstein. Kirshenblatt and Fleckenstein both won all three of their races over the first two days to take home the awards for top skiers in the series.

Organizers handed out those titles Saturday with concerns no races would happen on Sunday due to weather, though they were able to run them anyway. Local skier Masashi Tsutsumi won one of the boys' races, while the WMSC's Gabrielle Smith netted the top local finish by placing second in one of the girls' events.

Over at Big White, which hosted the U12 B.C. Interzone Championships, more Whistler skiers impressed during four races held March 8 and 9.

Alexandra Chartrand and Skylar Beauregard found form similar to what they had at the previous week's Grouse Tyee Cup, with Chartrand winning one girls' slalom and one GS, while Beauregard did the same in boys' racing. Matthias Shorter had one fourth-place finish in the first of two boys' giant slaloms. Danika Boucher netted two top-10 finishes, a feat she also accomplished in the Grouse Tyee Cup, while Freya Jumonville, Jonathan Chartrand and Alexander Katrusiak also earned top-10 results.

Several local juniors also posted outstanding results in a Keurig Cup series at Kimberley Alpine Resort last week. Among the highlights, B.C. Ski Team member Charley Field won a March 7 women's super-G, with Whistler's Kelly Steeves placing second. Riley Seger had a top-five finish, and was the best U18 skier, in the men's race the same day.

Whistler's Emma King, also a B.C. Ski Team athlete, earned a victory of her own March 4, winning the women's downhill. The WMSC's Mikayla Martin placed third and was the top U18, while Field, Steeves, and Rae Swette were among the five locals in the top seven. Two other Whistler skiers were on the men's downhill podium March 4, as Cameron Alexander placed second and Jack Crawford finished third.

Find more results for all events at www.bcalpine.com.

LOCAL CYCLISTS SOLID

Whistler's Will Routley is already making an impact in early races with the Team Optum pro cycling squad he signed with in the offseason.

The 30-year-old helped the team to strong results in the final stages of the Vuelta Mexico, which concluded last week. Routley was named "attacker of the day" on Stage 4, rode to a fifth-place finish in a short Stage 5 time trail, then helped Optum to a team win in the sixth and final stage, a 100-km circuit race.

Meanwhile, wife Shoshauna Routley, who rides for Trek Red Truck Racing, recently finished 28th in the Madera Stage Race in California, winning the event's road race and placing third in the criterium.

Locally, Team Whistler riders are also hitting the pavement and posting strong results. Trevor Hopkins, Tony Routley and Alex Capon went to the Escape Velocity Spring Series races near Langley over the weekend, with Hopkins and Routley among the lead group in the final sprint on Saturday, March 8 to post top-20 results. Whistler's Justin Homewood was also part of that finishing group. Hopkins also rode the following day and posted another top-20 finish.

BATHGATES BACK ON PODIUM

Twins Jackson and Cooper Bathgate stood together on the podium March 2, finishing second and third, respectively, at the Kicking Horse Jeep Junior Freeski Series event at Kicking Horse.

The Bathgates and other Whistler youth freeskiers then arrived in Lake Louise this past weekend for the Junior Big Mountain Challenge, with Jackson finishing second in the boys' 15 to 18 division. Local skiers Cooper Bathgate, Liam Peiffer, Tom Peiffer and Mitchell Long all had top-12 results in the contest, which was shortened due to weather conditions. Whistler's Carlene Loughlin finished eighth in the girls' 15 to 18 group.

RAIL ROYALS DECIDED, SHOWCASE SHOWDOWN NEXT

Ryusei Takahashi and Natalie Sagar ascended to the throne when Whistler Blackcomb's King of the Rail series resumed at Skiers Plaza on Saturday.

Takahashi was the top men's competitor and Sagar was the top female to take king and queen honours, respectively. Other top finishers were Isaac Vickers (men's ski), Tommi Ollikainen (men's snowboard), Sydney Schram (women's snowboard), Jonathan Dagg (boys' ski), Truth Smith (boys' snowboard) and Georgia Ferris (girls' snowboard).

Whistler Blackcomb is now preparing for the return of the Showcase Showdown this weekend, as Canada's longest-running snowboard competition is back for a 17th year. A two-day event for the first time ever, the Showdown will feature slopestyle in the Blackcomb Terrain Park on Friday, March 14 and big air the following afternoon outside the GLC. More than $40,000 in cash and prizes will be up for grabs.

Visit www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events for full details.

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