Peak to Valley back for 33rd year 

Sports briefs: WMSC athletes qualify for nationals; David named finalist for award

click to flip through (2) PHOTO BY SCOTT BRAMMER/COASTPHOTO.COM - HEADING DOWN Jordy Norris, a member of the defending champion NZ Foundation Team, is shown during the 2016 Peak to Valley Race.
  • Photo by Scott Brammer/Coastphoto.com
  • HEADING DOWN Jordy Norris, a member of the defending champion NZ Foundation Team, is shown during the 2016 Peak to Valley Race.
 

A Whistler institution, the Peak to Valley Race, will return to the slopes of Whistler Mountain this weekend.

The 33rd-annual running of the thigh-burning race will take place on Feb. 24 and 25. Teams of four will combine to put up their best time along the course, which boasts 180 gates and is over five kilometres long.

Chief of race Seb Fremont said with plenty of snow accumulation so far this winter, conditions are looking encouraging for this weekend's action.

"It's looking pretty good. (The) grooming (team) has done a fantastic job. We're feeling like we're in a pretty good spot right now," Fremont said.

The route will again be held on its traditional line, using the lower start line that was first used in 2016.

"It's just a little lower down in the saddle at what we call Side Saddle," he said. "(The route will go) down the Saddle into Old Man, (through) Upper and Lower Franz into Creekside."

The race filled all 76 slots once again, with a hearty cast of returning racers to round out the field.

"We do have a strong core crew of teams that come back year after year," Fremont said. "It's always great to have those people coming back."

No medals for Canadians at back end of World Championships

After a great start to the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships at St. Moritz, Switzerland, there wasn't a whole lot doing for Canadians in the event's waning days.

Erin Mielzynski posted the best result of the event-capping races, earning a 15th-place finish in the women's slalom on Feb. 18, while Marie-Michele Gagnon took 20th and Ali Nullmeyer was 27th. American Mikaela Shiffrin took the win, holding off Switzerland's Wendy Holdener and Sweden's Frida Hansdotter. No Canadians finished the men's slalom, in which Marcel Hirscher bested fellow Austrian Manuel Feller and German Felix Neureuther for gold.

Meanwhile, in the men's giant slalom on Feb. 17, Erik Read was the lone Canadian to finish, taking 23rd. Hirscher won again, holding off countryman Roland Leitinger for gold while Norway's Leif Kristian Haugen took bronze. Gagnon was the lone Canadian to finish the women's giant slalom on Feb. 16, taking 20th. France's Tessa Worley won gold, sharing the podium with Shiffrin and Italy's Sofia Goggia.

WMSC athletes qualify for nationals

Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) will be well represented at the U16 Canadian National Ski Championships in Thunder Bay, Ont.

Team B.C. boasts 10 WMSC members, with Maja Woolley, Gigi Kranjc, Julia Ross, Alexandra Chartrand, Una Brudar, Adelaide Tiller, Freya Jumonville and Gemma Bexton on the girls' side, while Nathan Romanin and Kieran Harley qualified on the boys' side.

Action at Loch Lomond Ski Area began on Feb. 21 with the super-G and will run until Feb. 25.

Meanwhile, the older skiers will be in action at Nakiska from Feb. 27 to March 5.

Jack Forsyth, Myles Kowalczyk, Dawson Yates, Kasper Woolley and Kosta Petkovic will represent the boys while Ella Renzoni will suit up for the girls. Mollie Jepsen also qualified, but suffered a broken ankle on Sunday and will not be available to race.

Four athletes from the club were also named to represent Canada at the Junior World Alpine Skiing Championships in Åre, Sweden from March 6 to 14. Stefanie Fleckenstein, Cameron Alexander, Riley Seger and 2016 super-G silver medallist Jack Crawford will all go. Former WMSC coach Dani Robson is also attending as the ladies' assistant coach.

David a finalist for award

WORCA stalwart Jerome David could use your vote.

The BC Bike Race announced its five finalists for the Kazlaw Community Award and David is on the list. Voting for the award at www.bcbikerace.com/kazlawfinalists is open until March 7 and the winner will be announced on March 9.

Joining David on the list are: Dana Heyman of Kamloops; Deb Mackillop of Nelson; Warren Hansen of Sechelt; and Rob Phoenix of Squamish.

The award was started by Marc Kazimirski, a personal injury lawyer, former racer and cycling advocate in Vancouver.

Former Mudderella participants encouraged to try Tough Mudder Half

Athletes who enjoyed Mudderella are encouraged by organizers to take on the Tough Mudder Half in the wake of the event's cancellation.

Mudderella, which was aimed primarily at women, was pulled off the worldwide schedule this year.

Tough Mudder spokeswoman Angela Alfano said in a statement that though Mudderella worked well, more women were already moving over to the Tough Mudder Half. The half-distance event is roughly similar in length to Mudderella.

"Due to the success of the Mudderella format, women across many geographic locations expressed interest in partaking in a shorter-distance challenge from both first-time and existing participants. In 2016, Tough Mudder introduced Tough Mudder Half, a five-mile (eight kilometre) challenge based off of the full Tough Mudder course (16 to 19 kilometres), offering as an efficient way to meet that interest.

"With the overwhelming response, demand and ease of execution in the 10 initial Tough Mudder Half launch locations, the challenge was expanded to 26 markets with great success. The event's predominant participants were not only women, but a more diverse demographic make-up of women than Mudderella. In 2017, instead of offering Mudderella in only a few select cities, Tough Mudder will be offering Tough Mudder Half to accommodate more women and others around the globe in an increased number of markets (82 events in seven countries) including Whistler."

This year's Tough Mudder events are slated for June 17 and 18 at Whistler Olympic Park.

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