WMSC skiers shine at Panorama 

Sports briefs: Test of Metal registration opens New Year's Day; Canadians hit top 10 on FIS circuit

click to flip through (2) PHOTO BY STEVE FLECKENSTEIN - Win-orama WMSC alum and current BC Ski Team competitor Stefanie Fleckenstein picked up a giant slalom win in Panorama on Dec. 19.
  • Photo by Steve Fleckenstein
  • Win-orama WMSC alum and current BC Ski Team competitor Stefanie Fleckenstein picked up a giant slalom win in Panorama on Dec. 19.

Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) competitors and alumni enjoyed the full scope of competition at Panorama just before Christmas.

BC Ski Team member Stefanie Fleckenstein had some strong results, taking fourth in the slalom on Dec. 22, while Mikayla Martin was 12th and Katie Fleckenstein also hit the top 20 in 18th.

Also on Dec. 22, Canada's James Crawford was fourth in the men's slalom while teammate Brodie Seger was ninth and provincial-level skier Riley Seger placed 15th.

In the Dec. 21 slalom, Brodie Seger was just outside the top 10 with an 11th-place finish while none of the ladies cracked the top 20.

As for the Dec. 20 giant slalom, Martin was impressive, notching a fourth-place finish while Brodie Seger and Crawford were sixth and eighth, respectively for the men.

The biggest day for any Whistler-connected skiers was Dec. 19, when Stefanie Fleckenstein topped all comers in the giant slalom, edging Amelia Smart on her home mountain by 0.12 seconds. The men also impressed, as Brodie Seger was second and Crawford was third to snag half the available podium spots for locals.

Full results are online at www.live-timing.com.

Test of Metal registration set to open

Test of Metal enjoyed a big year in 2015 with its 20th anniversary.

And those who want to toast the next 20 years can sign up for their chance starting at 6 p.m. on Jan. 1.

The race is slated for June 18.

Riders who would like to tackle all four events in the Test of Metal series of races can reserve their spots, however, as registration has already opened.

The season will kick off with the Orecrusher on Apr. 16, three weeks earlier than usual, while Gearjammer is slated for May 7. The campaign will wrap Sept. 17 with JABR (Just Another Bike Race).

The four-pack of races goes for $216 plus GST, which is a 20-per-cent savings from purchasing all four races individually.

A three-pack option, which does not include the Test of Metal race, is $120 plus GST.

Canucks crack top 10

Christmas provided a boost to a pair of Canadian alpine skiers who made an impression in Dec. 29 FIS action.

Invermere's Ben Thomsen got the biggest push, posting an eighth-place finish at the Santa Caterina, Italy downhill.

Thomsen was 1.63 seconds back of winner Adrien Theaux of France, who bested runners-up Hannes Reichelt of Austria and countryman David Poisson by over a second.

Thomsen shone on a day where several competitors struggled and told the Alpine Canada website he was appreciative of placing where he did.

"With just one training run, I had no idea what was going to happen in today's race. The course was super crazy, as were the conditions and it was by far the hardest race course I have ever raced on in my life," Thomsen said. "It was bumpy, dark, hard and icy. When I came through that finish I was crazy emotional to match the course I just skied and so happy with a top-10 finish!"

Jeffrey Frisch and Tyler Werry were the only other competitors to finish, placing 35th and 46th, respectively. Whistler's Broderick Thompson and WMSC alumnus Manny Osborne-Paradis did not finish.

As for the women, Marie-Michèle Gagnon was the only Canadian to earn a second run and she made the most of it. Gagnon placed 10th in the slalom in Lienz, Austria, placing 1.57 seconds back of the winner, Frida Hansdotter of Sweden. It was Gagnon's second top 10 of the season.

Switzerland's Wendy Holdener and Slovakia's Petra Vlhova rounded out the podium.

Gagnon didn't qualify for a second run in the giant slalom the day before.

However, Marie-Pier Prefontaine placed 14th, 2.02 seconds off the winning pace set by Switzerland's Lara Gut. Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather and Germany's Viktoria Rebensberg were second and third.



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