Whistler Mountain Ski Club sweeps Parsons Memorial 

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club played host to ski clubs from the Lower Mainland last weekend for the 23 rd annual Bob Parsons Memorial.

The race series was originally created to give young skiers, 13 and 14 year-old K2s and FIS-level racers aged 15 and 16, an opportunity to compete in a speed event. The original format was a downhill, but for the last two seasons the competitors have raced in super G events.

This year’s super G events took place on Blackcomb Mountain’s Lower Cruiser Run.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club K2’s took 11 out of 12 podium spots over two days of racing. The club is strong, but coaches gave at least part of the credit to the warm weather that has resulted in poor snow conditions for teams at Cypress, Seymour, Hemlock and Grouse mountains.

A pair of Whistler K2s won a pair of gold medals. In the first race on Saturday, local skier Julia Murray, the daughter of Crazy Canuck downhiller Dave Murray, posted the fastest time of any K2 skier, male or female, one minute, 3.97 seconds.

She finished second overall in the race, half a second back of junior FIS skier Charlotte Whitney, and just one one-hundreth of a second ahead of junior Anastasia Skryabina.

Katherine Cape of the WMSC won the K2 silver medal in 1:05.02, and teammate Nadia Samer took the bronze in 1:05.03. The third-place junior, finishing 19 th overall was Kristine Good of Hemlock.

In the men’s super G, WMSC junior racers Ben Chaddock and Trevor Conroy took the top two spots with times of 1:01.84 and 1:01.90 respectively. Lake Philip of the WMSC was the third junior, finishing 13 th in 1:08.34.

Matthew Holler of the Whistler club was the top K2, finishing third overall with a time of 1:04:07. He was joined on the podium by the teammates Jonathan Wells and Rey Stanislas with times of 1:05.90 and 1:06.06 respectively.

On Sunday, Skryabina won the women’s race with a time of 1:03.94. Whitney and Alison Leighton finished second and third among juniors, finishing in third and fourth place overall with times of 1:04.78 and 1:04.86. Murray once again finished second overall and was the top K2 with a time of 1:04.78.

"She (Murray) did really well," commented K2 coach Rob Boyd.

"She’s got a good work ethic and some good genes in her blood – the apple hasn’t fallen that far from the tree," said Boyd, who knew Dave Murray when he was a World Cup downhill star.

"She’s got just a great feeling on her skis, and part of the reason is that she’s a very good gymnast. We were doing some dryland training at the gym next door to gymnastics, and I sneaked a peak at her training and she was doing some amazing stuff. She’s got the flexibility, body awareness, balance – really important stuff in ski racing."

Boyd also had praise for the other WMSC skiers, and especially Matt Holler.

In the men’s super G, Holler finished first overall with a time of 1:03.82, followed by Wells and Stanislas in 1:04.29 and 1:05.66. The top junior was Philip in 12 th , followed by Nils Bottler in 13 th .

"The team is really strong this year, and there are definitely a few leaders that are raising the bar a little and setting a strong pace for the others to follow," Boyd said.

The Parsons Memorial is an important race for the athletes because it provides them with experience in speed events. Past competitors with the club discovered an affinity for speed events at the Parsons, and have gone on to represent Canada at the World Cup level.

"How well they do does matter to (the skiers), motivating them to get better, move up the ladder. It’s an experience that builds on to every event and every speed camp, adding to their confidence on their skis. All of them have come a long way," said Boyd.

For complete results, visit the B.C. Alpine Web site at www.bcalpine.com.

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