Alpine speed championships return to Whistler 

General Motors of Canada has long been a title sponsor of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, as well as the title sponsor of the Pontiac GMC Cup series. Last year a record nine athletes from the national team qualified for a free GM vehicle for one year, and last week athletes once again headed to GM headquarters to use the wind tunnel for training.

This week GM announced plans to continue support of alpine skiing in Canada, confirming the Pontiac GMC Cup series and Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships for the upcoming season. And for the third straight winter the national championship speed events will take place in Whistler, Feb. 9 to.12, giving athletes an opportunity to race the Olympic courses. The technical championships will take place in Quebec from March 20 to 23.

The Pontiac Cup series includes events at Norquay, Alberta, Bromont and Mt. Orford Quebec, and Camp Fortune and Georgian Peaks, Ontario.

Alpine Canada has successfully signed on several new sponsors this year, bringing its budget for the 2008-09 season to more than $8 million. Back in 2002, when Ken Read took over the reigns of the national program, the total funding was $3.4 million. Those funds are more in line with the budgets for the top European teams, and the increases are already showing results. Last season Alpine Canada athletes scored a record 14 World Cup podiums and finished in the top-10 more than 40 times.

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