The first Whistler alpine World Cup races in 10 years get underway today, Thursday, Feb. 21, with a men’s super G race on Whistler mountain, to be followed by a women’s downhill on Feb. 22, a men’s giant slalom on Feb. 23, a women’s super G and super combined on Feb. 24.
It has taken more than a month of hard work to get to this point, with local Weasel Workers setting up the netting in January for the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championship speed events that took place in early February. As recently as Sunday night, crews were out at midnight injecting water into the course in preparation for the first women’s downhill training run on Feb. 19.
So far that effort seems worth it. Although nobody can say how the Canadians will do, or our Whistler racers with the national team — Britt Janyk, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Robbie Dixon — but by Sunday the team hopes to have added another few medals to its’ season tally.
The team got off to a strong start in the first women’s training run on Tuesday, with Whistler’s Britt Janyk finishing just 0.13 seconds back of Lindsey Vonn of the U.S., the current World Cup leader. Marie Marchand-Arvier of France was third, while Kelly VanderBeek of Canada placed fourth. Emily Brydon, a winner of three World Cup medals this season, was 24 th .
While there are a few flurries in the forecast for this week, no major snowfalls are expected between press time and Sunday that could hamper the races.
“The course crew and volunteers have worked extremely hard to prepare the courses here in Whistler for the world’s best ski racers,” said John Cassels, direction of World Cup events for Alpine Canada.
“As a result of their effort the track is in very good condition and it’s ‘game on.”
Some of the events planned around the World Cup include a performance by K-os and Hedley at the Telus VIP World Cup Ski Party of Feb. 22, and other performances in the village. Free shows include DJ Shortfuse and Black Swade in Village Square at 2:30 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. today (Feb. 21); DJ Foxy Moron, The Johnstones, and Hedley at 2:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Feb. 22, followed by the men’s super G bib draw; and DJ Vinyl Ritchie, Shad and K-os at 2:30 p.m., 3:45 p.m. and 4:45 p.m. on Feb. 23, followed by the ladies super G bib draw.
A total of 15 Canadians will be racing at Whistler this weekend. The women’s team includes Britt Janyk, Emily Brydon, Emilie Desforges, Danielle Poleschuk, and Kelly VanderBeek, while the men’s side includes Scott Barrett, Francois Bourque, Robbie Dixon, Jeffrey Frisch, Erik Guay, John Kucera, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Jean-Philippe Roy, Gareth Sine, and Patrick Wright.
For the complete schedule and race start times, visit www.whistler-worldcup.com.