Staying close to home proved to be a winning strategy for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club’s Ford Swette.
Swette won the first Nor-Am Cup race of his career on Friday (Feb. 1) in Vail, Colo., taking down a giant slalom to move into second place in the series standings for the discipline.
The 20-year-old B.C. Ski Team member put down two solid runs to hold off national team member Sasha Zaitsoff by 19 hundredths of a second for the victory. It was the second GS podium of the season in Nor-Am racing for Swette, who did not accompany teammates on a trip to Europe in January.
“It’s been an interesting week and I’m so happy right now,” Swette said in a release. “I was nervous that maybe I had fallen behind while everyone else was getting amazing training in Europe. My confidence has been resorted and I now believe that the break was actually a benefit … and gave me time to focus on what I need to do to be successful.
“I feel very strong right now and this win is just another positive step forward.”
Broderick Thompson, a fellow local on the B.C. Ski Team, was also in Vail for the technical series and had his best result on Sunday (Feb. 3), a 32nd-place finish in slalom.
Whistler’s Mike Janyk competed the two slaloms at Vail, finishing second in both races before heading back over to Europe to continue preparations for the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
Newman grabs bronze
Whistler’s Avery Newman earned a bronze medal in slalom during alpine ski competition at the Special Olympics World Winter Games, which wrapped up Tuesday (Feb. 5) in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The 23-year-old was moved up to the advanced level for his three races and finished third in his slalom division, finishing behind competitors from the U.K. and Luxembourg.
Newman also recorded seventh-place finishes in his giant slalom and super-G races, which took place at the same ski area that will host alpine competition for the 2018 Olympics and Paralympics.
Newman’s bronze contributed to a huge medal haul from Team Canada, which earned 109 medals during the event, eight more than the team collected at the last World Winter Games in 2009.
Freeriders solid at Stevens Pass
Whistler’s Bathgate brothers continued to impress at Stevens Pass, Wash., this past weekend, finishing in the top two spots for their age group at Saturday and Sunday’s (Feb. 1 and 2) Jim Jack Cowboy Up Freeride Challenge.
Cooper Bathgate qualified in first place for the male 12 to 14 division and remained there with a clean finals run that included a backflip. Jackson Bathgate also held on to his qualifying spot, staying in second place after Sunday’s final on a course that was shortened due to conditions.
Other members of the Whistler Freeride Club had solid outings at Stevens Pass, including Tom Peiffer, who finished fourth in the male 15 to 18 group. Peiffer sat fifth after one run, but moved up one position in the finals.
In the same division, Conrad Murdoch made a slight mistake in qualifying, but he redeemed himself with an excellent finals run that left him 13th for the weekend. Liam Peiffer qualified in seventh place but suffered a crash in the finals.
The Whistler team heads back to Washington later this month for another competition at Crystal Mountain.
Freestyle skiers host event
The Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club will host hundreds of skiers this weekend for the season’s second Timber Tour and Super Youth Challenge, which will feature three days of competition in three Olympic disciplines.
The contests get underway Saturday (Feb. 9) with slopestyle, followed by moguls and halfpipe over the next two days to close out the long weekend.
Visit www.bcfreestyle.com to find full event details.
Spud Valley Loppet returns
Pemberton’s long-running Spud Valley Loppet is back for a 24th year, taking place on Sunday (Feb. 10).
The 12-kilometre classic technique race gets underway at 10 a.m. from Ronayne Farm, located about 16 km north of Pemberton. Bib pickup and on-site registration begins at 9 a.m., but pre-registration can be completed at www.zone4.ca.
The race will be followed by lunch and prizes at the Coast Mountain Outdoor School’s Fougberg House. Visit www.spudvalleynordics.com for full details.
More awards for Ballerina DMV
Ballerina DMV of Pemberton’s Dreamcatcher Meadows picked up more prestigious awards at the American Hanoverian Society’s (AHS) annual meetings held last month in San Diego.
Ballerina was named the AHS’s Materiale (Young Horse) Champion after her tremendous 2012 season of dressage competition. The award, which recognizes the top competitors aged three to five years old, came after Ballerina earned a median score of 88.5 per cent from her events, an extraordinary score that the U.S. Dressage Federation (USDF) recognized as the highest obtained by a horse of any breed, sex or level in 2012.
Ballerina was also awarded the honour for Sport Horse Breeding Mature Mare Champion, which is determined by scores of physical characteristics.
Lady of the Dance DMV and Lordsley DMV, also bred and trained at Dreamcatcher Meadows, were ranked in the top 10 for their age groups.