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Beattie, DesBrisay and Kemp win Whistler freeride junior event

16 Whistler Freeride Club members qualify for 2024 North American Championships

Amidst a gorgeous backdrop of sun, cloud and mountain peak, numerous Whistler Freeride Club (WFC) skiers defended home snow on March 15 to 17 at the IFSA junior national.

Regan Beattie grabbed gold in the U19 women's division with a score of 64.86, but it wasn't easy as less than two points separated the podium finishers. Kayla Constantini joined her teammate with bronze around her neck (63.57), leaving silver medallist Annabelle Francis between them (64.30). Brooke Hemstead ended up fourth (63.06) and Talia Wittenberg was fifth (62.47).

"I’m proud of myself," said Beattie. "The conditions on the venue weren’t ideal, so I’m super happy to have been able to share the podium with some awesome girls."

Tannen DesBrisay proved to be top dog among U19 men (74.63) in front of runner-up Asher Maxwell (72.56) and fellow local Kohen Tacilauskas (72.13). Jake Yarnold was the next highest-ranking Whistlerite in sixth (69.00).

"I'm really happy with [my performance]," DesBrisay said. "I haven't really been able to get a good result in the 15-18 age category until then. [Home snow] can be a bit of an advantage, definitely, because you just know it a bit better. You know what the snow is doing and where you've been skiing a bunch as well." 

Among U15 girls, it was Arleigh Kemp emerging victorious as the only contestant to break the 60-point barrier (62.20). Zoe Bombier (59.33) and Lucille Lambert (59.06) placed second and third behind her. Whistler's Clara Borner met the same fate as Hemstead: a hard-fought fourth (58.44). 

"I would say I was focused on skiing consistently throughout the two days," Kemp explained. "The conditions were not very good and it was really easy to make mistakes, so consistency was really important." 

Carter Durlacher paced all WFC U15 boys with a silver medal (68.47), next to champ Benson Hulbert (68.50) and Jude Carter who took bronze (67.47). Owen White barely missed out on joining his clubmate Durlacher on the podium (67.40). 

Each of the aforementioned locals (except for Wittenberg) have qualified for North American Championships, as well as Mhairi Smart, Floyd Guy, Levi Scott, Leo Pullen, Freya Turner and Ellie Hannay. Said championships will take place from April 8 to 14 in Breckenridge, Colo. 

For DesBrisay, the North American Championships will hopefully help launch him towards bigger and higher aspirations. 

"My goal is to make it to Worlds," he revealed. "It hasn't happened yet. But if I do well in [Colorado], then I should be able to go there next year." 

Added Kemp: "It means a lot to have qualified for such a big event, and it means even more to be going with my friends that also qualified. I am really excited to compete and meet all these great skiers from all over. " 

Full results from the Whistler junior national are available online.