Simmerling podiums twice at Innichen 

Sports briefs: Lost Lake opens; Kingsbury takes 10th-straight win

click to enlarge PHOTO BY GEPA COURTESY OF ALPINE CANADA - Georgia on their minds Georgia Simmerling, right, should be an Olympic contender after a pair of podiums in FIS World Cup ski-cross action last week.
  • Photo by GEPA courtesy of Alpine Canada
  • Georgia on their minds Georgia Simmerling, right, should be an Olympic contender after a pair of podiums in FIS World Cup ski-cross action last week.

Georgia Simmerling is looking strong in her quest to become just the second Canadian and fifth athlete to medal at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

The Vancouverite, who earned bronze in team pursuit cycling at last year's Rio de Janeiro Games, placed second in the FIS World Cup ski-cross race in Innichen, Italy on Dec. 21.

Simmerling finished behind only Germany's Heidi Zacher while Sweden's Sandra Naeslund was third. Other Canadians performed well as Kelsey Serwa took fifth, India Sherret was 13th and Brittany Phelan took 18th.

On the men's side, Canadian Mathieu Leduc made the big final but placed just off the podium in fourth as Switzerland's Marc Bischofberger took top spot over Austrians Christoph Wahrstoetter and Thomas Zangerl. The result was a personal best for Leduc.

"I'm really hungry for more," Leduc said in a release. The Comox product battled injury in recent seasons and hopes the race is a sign of things to come.

Kevin Drury placed ninth while Brady Leman and Ian Deans were also in the points in 28th and 29th, respectively.

On Dec. 22, Simmerling appeared on the podium once again, taking third as Sandra Naeslund scored a victory and France's Marielle Berger Sabbatel was second. In a tight finish with Switzerland's Fanny Smith, Simmerling nudged over the line just ahead of her competitor with her placement confirmed by a photo finish. Phelan and Serwa hit the top 10 in sixth and ninth, respectively, while Sherret was 16th.

On the men's side, Drury was the only Canadian to move past the initial heats, placing eighth. The 20s were dominated by Canadians, with Deans in 21st, Kevin MacDonald in 23rd, Leman in 25th, Chris Del Bosco in 26th and Whistler's Dave Duncan in 29th. Bischofberger repeated as the winner, fending off Sweden's Viktor Andersson and Switzerland's Alex Fiva.

Full results are available at www.alpinecanada.org.

Lost Lake open for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing

Cross-country skiers and snowshoers can now access trails close to Whistler Village.

The Lost Lake Trails officially opened on Dec. 22 with six kilometres of trails available to explore for each mode of transport. To maintain the trail conditions, the trails are now closed to walkers, runners, bikers, skaters and dogs.

Trails are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily with night skiing in effect with lit trails from 3 p.m. onward.

At full operation, Lost Lake offers 25 km of trails for cross-country skiing and 15 km for snowshoeing, though more snow is needed to open other sections.

For more information, visit www.whistler.ca.

Kingsbury scores win, Naude in 3rd in China

Canadian moguls athletes capped 2017 on a high note.

Mikael Kingsbury continued his perfect season with back-to-back wins in Thaiwoo, China on Dec. 21 and 22. In the first, he edged Australia's Matt Graham and the U.S.' Troy Murphy while fellow Canadians Philippe Marquis and Marc-Antoine Gagnon were eighth and 10th, respectively. Kerrian Chunlaud also performed admirably, taking 14th.

On the second day, Kingsbury bested Kazakhstan's Dmitriy Reikherd and Graham, while Marquis, Gagnon and Chunlaud took 12th, 17th and 23rd, respectively.

Kingsbury has now won 10 World Cup races in a row.

"It's crazy, but I haven't even really thought about that yet, to be honest. I'm just trying to ski my best and control whatever I can control and I was able to do that today," Kingsbury said after his 45th World Cup win overall. "It's fantastic to win, especially when my opponents are skiing so well. Dimitriy, Matt, Jae Woo and all the others force me to ski at 100-per-cent capacity in order to do my best. If I'm dreaming, I don't want anyone to wake me up!"

On the women's side, Penticton's Andi Naude won a pair of bronze medals. On Dec. 21, she placed behind American Jaelin Kauf and Kazakhstan's Yulia Galysheva while fellow Canadian Justine Dufour-Lapointe was just behind her in fourth. A plethora of other Canucks, including Audrey Robichaud (13th), Chloe Dufour-Lapointe (15th), Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (27th) and Alex-Anne Gagnon (30th), also earned World Cup points.

The next day, the podium had the same three skiers, though Galysheva bested Kauf while Naude was third again. Chloe Dufour-Lapointe jumped into the top 10 in seventh while Robichaud took 14th, Gagnon 22nd, Justine Dufour-Lapointe 25th and Maxime Dufour-Lapointe 30th.

Two Canadians in snowboard-cross top 10

Canadians Carle Brenneman and Meyeta O'Dine both cracked the top 10 in snowboard-cross action on Dec. 22.

At the FIS World Cup race in Cervinia, Italy, Brenneman didn't finish the small final, but took seventh in the end while O'Dine ended up in 10th.

Whistler's Zoe Bergermann, meanwhile, placed 12th while other Canadians were in the bottom half of the field with Tess Critchlow in 26th, Audrey McManiman in 30th, Katie Anderson in 33rd and Halli Moyer in 34th.

On the men's side, Kevin Hill was just outside the top 10, taking 11th, while other Canadians in the points were Baptiste Brochu in 22nd, Eliot Grondin in 26th, Squamish's Chris Robanske in 58th, and Danny Bourgeois in 68th.

Read lone Canadian to finish men's slalom

Erik Read was the sole Canuck to get through two runs in men's FIS World Cup slalom action in Madonna di Campiglio, Italy on Dec. 22.

Read placed 22nd, 1.45 seconds back of winner Marcel Hirscher of Austria. Switzerland's Luca Aerni took second while Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen was third.

Ziptrek heads to the Super Bowl

No, a Whistler football player hasn't quite cracked the NFL, but our resort will be represented at the Super Bowl a second time.

Ziptrek Ecotours will install a zipline in the Super Bowl Village in Minneapolis, Minn. as part of celebrations for Super Bowl LII. The 228-metre (750-foot) zipline will take riders across the Mississippi River from Nicolett Island to the West River Parkway.

The line will operate from Jan. 26 to Feb. 4.

Ziptrek previously was invited to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis, Ind. in 2012.

Canadian slopestyles crack top 10

Canada's slopestyle athletes put up some solid performances as an early Christmas gift.

At the FIS World Cup stop in Font Romeu, France on Dec. 23, Elena Gaskell put up the best Canuck performance of the day, taking sixth with a 68.40 score. France's Tess Ledeux crushed the competition en route to the win while Sweden's Jennie-Lee Burmansson and Norway's Tiril Sjaastad Christiansen also hit the podium. Whistler superkid Sofia Tchernetsky, 15, took 13th while Nikki Blackall was 16th.

On the men's side, Noah Morrison scored a seventh-place finish with an 82.40 to lead all Canadians. Sweden's Oscar Wester posted a 94.60 for the win, trailed closely by Norwegians Ferdinand Dahl and Oystein Braaten. Max Moffatt also did well, taking 12th.

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