Before they head over to Europe to take on the world, some of Whistler’s top downhill riders secured titles at home as the Phat Wednesday race series wrapped up on Aug. 29.
Chris Kovarik wound up taking the men’s season title, wife Claire Buchar captured the women’s crown and Jack Iles took home the 2013 junior championship. All three are planning to travel over to Hefjell, Norway, and Leogang, Austria, for the final two events of the World Cup downhill season.
Meanwhile, Andrew Gunn was the series champ for the masters division.
Kovarik won four out of eight races this season and was the runner-up on three other occasions to cruise to the men’s title. Tyler Allison, who won twice during the season, finished second in the standings while Remy Metallier placed third. Nick Geddes, who won last week’s series finale, wound up in fourth spot.
By winning all seven races she entered, Buchar finished with the maximum 1,400 points in the standings to be named the women’s champ. Lula Darquier and Leonie Picton tied for second place after each had consistent results throughout the summer.
Gunn was similarly consistent over the course of the series. Though he didn’t win any races, he finished on the podium in each of the last four events to take the master title. Luke Radnor was the season’s runner-up and finale winner Mathieu Hebert wound up third.
Iles was the top junior in all six of his races this year to finish with a comfortable lead in the standings. Isaac Marangoni, who had four second-place finishes over the summer, placed second and Finn Iles ended the year in third.
Last week’s finale was the third annual F--- Cancer A-Line Classic, with $3,500 raised to support patients fighting cancer at B.C. Children’s Hospital.
Though Phat Wednesdays are finished, the Whistler Mountain Bike Park is bringing back Phat Weekends in September, planning to run single-day downhill and enduro events.
The downhill will take place on Sept. 15 in the Garbanzo Zone. WORCA memberships are required and the entry fee is $20. Riders will receive closed-course training in the morning followed by an afternoon race with $1,500 in prize money up for grabs. The enduro is scheduled for Sept. 28 and will also be a WORCA event.
Volleyball camp upcoming
The volleyball season is getting off to a quick start at Whistler Secondary School, with the Storm girls’ team receiving some special guests last week.
The UBC Thunderbirds women’s team spent three days in the resort on a team bonding trip before the CIS schedule kicks off, and the squad also spent some time on the court with Whistler players.
“The UBC team did some warm-up drills with our girls and it was very inspiring for the girls to interact and play with the UBC team,” said Storm coach Laura Wetaski.
Meanwhile, the Storm’s season is close to getting underway and Wetaski will be putting on the second annual Jump Start Volleyball Camp at Whistler Secondary next week, with some top-level coaches coming to provide instruction.
Abstract Volleyball head coach Jesse Knight and assistant Ali Sandholm will be on hand for the camp, which runs Monday to Thursday (Sept. 9 to 12). Knight is the former University of Calgary Dinos and junior national women’s team head coach, while Sandholm is a former pro player who also suited up for Canada’s junior national squad.
“The quality of coaching that Knight and Sandholm will bring to Whistler is exceptional,” said Wetaski. “This will be a real treat for our Whistler girls.”
Parents interested in coaching a welcome to observe the camp as well. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
Seeking new sliders
The B.C. Bobsleigh and Skeleton Association is currently undergoing athlete recruitment, with an ID camp scheduled for Vancouver this weekend. The camp, taking place Saturday (Sept. 7) at the Kerrisdale Cyclone Taylor Arena, is free and will put athletes through a series of strength and speed tests. Registration takes place from 11:15 to 11:45 a.m., with camp activities to get underway at 12:15 p.m. Further camps are expected to take place in the Whistler area in the future.