Locals skiers race to the top at Canadian championships 

Janyks, Hume, Risler among medalists at 2002 Pontiac GMC Cup Canadian Championships

All eyes were on Whistler last week as the top alpine skiers in the country competed for best-in-Canada honours at the 2002 Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships. Months of preparation went into the organization of this event, which brought sports media and elite athletes from across Canada to Whistler.

So naturally a storm system moved in at the last minute, cancelling downhill training runs and making life difficult for the dozens of volunteer Weasel Workers who worked overtime clearing the race courses. In the end, more than a metre of snow fell during the 10-day event, with a few sunny periods mixed in for good measure. Thanks to the efforts of the volunteers, all of the events got off the ground with only a few minor delays.

The events included members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team (CAST), the national development team, provincial teams, as well as the top junior racers at the club level.

More than bragging rights were at stake in the championships. Race winners received $2,500 and silver and bronze medalists received $1,000 and $500 respectively.

Whistler’s own Britt Janyk won gold medals in the super G and giant slalom, was second in the slalom, and finished sixth in the downhill, to become the overall Canadian champion, as well as the national super G and GS champion.

At 21, Janyk is quickly becoming one of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team’s top World Cup prospects. She fell short of qualifying for the Olympics after a slow start this season, but went on to place well at the World Cup level and win the overall Europa Cup GS title.

"It’s nice to be racing at home," she said. "I know this hill so well, I don’t have any doubts."

After a strong finish to her international season, Janyk said she also had some momentum going into the championships. "I’ve had a lot of great results leading up to this, so I knew better than to doubt the way I was skiing. I always try to stay positive going into races, but it always helps when you’re doing well."

Her younger brother Michael Janyk, who was a member of the national development team last season, was fourth in the slalom, sixth in the super-G and fourth in the GS. He was also the top junior in all three events.

"I’ve had the experience (of being at the Canadian Championships) four times now, and it’s always a good way to see how I do," says Janyk, who is turning 20 on March 22. "It gives you confidence to race against the best, especially when you race well. You don’t get intimidated."

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