Youth skiers thrive in races at home 

Sports briefs: Relocated event sees local racers post top results

click to enlarge PHOTO BY JIM DAVIE / COURTESY OF WMSC - Podium performer Maggie Tuer skis in the Teck Coast Zone U16 girls' races held in Whistler last weekend. Tuer finished the weekend with two top-10 finishes, including a bronze medal in GS.
  • Photo by Jim Davie / Courtesy of WMSC
  • Podium performer Maggie Tuer skis in the Teck Coast Zone U16 girls' races held in Whistler last weekend. Tuer finished the weekend with two top-10 finishes, including a bronze medal in GS.

Teck Coast Zone U14 and U16 alpine ski races were moved to Whistler on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 11 and 12 due to a lack of snow at Mount Washington, and there was sure no shortage of the white stuff in the Dave Murray National Training Centre.

There was also no shortage of great performances by Whistler Mountain Ski Club athletes, who racked up a number of podium finishes and other strong results during the two days of racing.

At the U14 level, Myles Kowalczyk and Ella Renzoni swept all three boys' and girls' races, respectively, and saw teammates join them on the podium each time. Renzoni won Saturday's giant slalom while Whistler's Meg Swaffield finished third, then skied to a one-two finish with Maja Woolley in both one-run slalom races held Sunday.

"I felt pretty good about my run but was quite anxious because of the weather and delays and just wanted to finish," Swaffield said of her Saturday race in a release, as winds up to 100 km/h put some of the day's action on hold.

Haley Mitchell, Lucy Tuer, Alissa Wong, Erin Dawson, Sierra King and Arabella Ng each had top-10 results on the weekend as well.

Kowalczyk was joined by third-place finisher Jake Bennett on the podium Saturday, while Ethan McTavish took bronze from the first slalom on Sunday and Jack Forsyth earned silver in the second.

"The course didn't hold up too well but our awesome volunteers did the best job they could with all that snow," said Forsyth. "Without them, we couldn't have had a race this weekend."

Top-10 results were also claimed by locals Dawson Yates, Eric Smith, Nathan Romanin, Jack Cormack and Griffin Brumec-Parsons.

In U16 racing, Katie Fleckenstein, Laura Swaffield and Maggie Tuer finished first, second and third in Saturday's GS. Swaffield returned to the podium in the runner-up spot again during Sunday's one slalom race. Gabrielle Smith, Bria Henderson, Anna Gosney, Tamara Smallwood and Lucy Turner each posted top-10 results over the two days for the host club.

Whistler boys also swept the U16 podium on Saturday, with Finn Iles clocking the fastest time, followed by Max Kirshenblatt and Alexander Valentin. Kirshenblatt grabbed another silver medal in Sunday's slalom, while Kasper Woolley captured bronze. Other Whistler athletes skiing into the top 10 on the weekend included Asher Jordan, Ciaran Beveridge, Griffin Smith, Griffin Renzoni and Hugo Jamieson.

DOAK DOMINATES CANMORE XC RACES

Whistler cross-country skier Lauren Doak travelled to last week's Haywood NorAm Olympic and World Junior/U23 Trials in Canmore, Alta., and brought back a trio of gold medals after dominating the junior girls' division.

Doak won the five-kilometre classic race, the 800-metre skate sprint and 7.5-km skate race during competition held Jan. 9 to 12.

"I was really happy with all of my performances," said Doak, adding that she was particularly pleased with her victories in the classic and skate sprint races. "I don't usually do very well in sprints but I've been working on my speed this year, really improved it and it showed.

"When I saw the start lists, I thought I had a chance to do quite well, but not (as well) as what happened."

The results were especially impressive considering how the lack of snow on local trails has made it difficult for Doak to train.

"It's been a challenge... but I've been running every week and skiing once or twice trying to find what snow there was," she said.

Doak and many other local skiers will be racing this weekend at Whistler Olympic Park, which hosts the next Coast Cup event of the season on Saturday, Jan. 18.

OUGHTRED, TANAKA TOP KVRS GS

Ryan Oughtred and Sanae Tanaka were the quickest male and female skiers when the Kokanee Valley Race Series held its second race of the year last Thursday, Jan. 9.

Oughtred won the men's 30 to 39 age category on the Ptarmigan GS course, edging Phil Beauregard by one second for the fastest time overall. Beauregard took the victory in the men's 50 to 59 division. Other men's group winners were Ian Stirk (19 to 29), Michael Noc (40 to 49), Paul Psutka (60 to 69), David Trussler (70 to 79), James Meyers (telemark) and Max Wiglesworth (snowboard).

Tanaka took top spot in the women's 50 to 59 division and also had a one-second overall advantage on Liz Thompson, who won the 40 to 49 group. Other women's winners were Grace Oaks (70-plus), Barbara Walker (60 to 69), Corrine Stoltz (30 to 39) and Hannah McIntyre (19 to 29).

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