East meets west in alpine showdown 

Whistler well represented at championships

The final step from the feeder system to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team is the Pontiac GMC race series. The final step in the series is the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships.

This year the championships are being held in Whistler, from March 11 to 20, featuring members of the national team, national development team, provincial teams, and the top FIS level racers at the club level. Skiers qualify at provincial competitions and at the race series events leading up to the championships.

Because of the distances and the costs involved in travelling, the Pontiac GMC series competition is generally divided into the East, with the best athletes from Ontario and Quebec, and the West, with racers from Alberta and B.C.

The best of the best will face off in downhill, slalom, giant slalom and super G events over nine days of racing. At stake are both the Pontiac GMC Cup series titles and national championship titles for each discipline.

While the list is still being finalized, Whistler skiers, and both current and former members of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, will be well represented at the championships.

"Many of our athletes have qualified through their results this year or past rankings," says WMSC head coach Brett MacFarlane. "Just who qualifies will be made public later this week as Jordan (Williams) is crunching numbers into the night on behalf of all the teams and coaches of the province and B.C. Alpine.

"This is a big series for Brian Bennett who looks to both make his mark in each discipline, along with continuing his strong performance in the season-long Pontiac GMC Cup. As the current points leader, Brian is looking to put the title away quickly on his own snow."

Other Whistler skiers to watch for include national development team racer Mike Janyk in the technical events, and his older sister Britt, who is a member of the national team and a contender in every event.

The Hume brothers are also strong contenders. Scott Hume is strong in technical events, while his brother Jeff, who is on the national team, has his eye on the speed events.

Whistler’s Christina Risler, a rookie on the national development team this year, won a bronze in the super G last year and could repeat.

Nanaimo’s Allison Forsyth, who spent numerous years with the club, is also a good bet. Not only is she one of the top skiers on the national team, she also knows the hill.

There will be a daily Awards Ceremony at the Pontiac GMC Snow Show Stage at 4 p.m.

Schedule:

Mar. 11 to 13

Downhill Training

Mar. 14

Men’s FIS Downhill

Women’s Canadian Championship Downhill

Mar. 15

Women’s FIS Downhill

Men’s Canadian Championship Downhill

Mar. 16

Canadian Championship Super G, Men and Women

Provincial Dual Slalom

Mar. 17

Canadian Championship Giant Slalom, Women

Mar. 18

Canadian Championship GS, Men

Mar. 19

Canadian Championship Slalom, Women

Mar. 20

Canadian Championship Slalom, Men

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