High winds and heavy snowfall forced the cancellation of the season's final Kokanee Valley Race Series (KVRS) event that was scheduled for last Thursday (March 15), so those clinging to age-group leads in the series standings could breathe a sigh of relief. Category winners were finalized after Thursday's cancellation with the best five of six races for each competitor counting towards their overall totals.
Results from the Terrain GS staged Feb. 23 on the snowcross course ended up being huge for John Muzzillo and Kim McKnight, who both moved into first place in the men's and women's 40 to 49 age groups, respectively, with victories in what ended up being the final race of the season.
Other outright age group winners included Ian Stirk (men's 19 to 29), Daniel Moore (men's 30 to 39), Tenney Wilkins (men's 50 to 59), Paul Psutka (men's 60 to 69), David Trussler (men's 70 to 79), David Ball (snowboard), Hugh Berwick (telemark), Kristi Hirsh (women's 30 to 39) and Joy Fera (women's 70-plus).
There were also ties in a handful of categories, as Janine Linder Joris and Kary Firstbrook shared the women's 50 to 59 title, Sarah Colpitts and Jennifer Moore were deadlocked in the women's 19 to 29 division and single appearances each from Doug Deeks and Werner Himmelsbach made for a men's 80-plus tie.
Meanwhile, the Whistler Blackcomb events crew dug out the snowcross course for more than 80 riders who came out for another 13-and-under event going Saturday and Sunday (March 17 and 18) on Blackcomb.
Girls' skiing winners from Sunday's heats were Carlin Mann (11 to 13), Jillian Deane (10-year-olds) and Caitlin Wallin (9-and-under) while Samantha Deally captured the lone snowboard division.
Among the boys, the top snowboarders were Finn Finestone (10-and-under) and Jonathon Williams (11 to 13). In ski racing, Alex Auger (11 to 13), Nathan Holm (10-year-olds) and Jack Morrow (9-and-under) were all No. 1 in their respective age groups.
See www.whistlerblackcomb.com/events for a full list of results, including ladders from Sunday's heats.
Routley rides to fifth
Whistler's Will Routley earned another top-five finish thanks to a poorly-timed catch attempt from the peloton in Tuesday's (March 20) opening stage of the Coppi e Bartali race in Italy.
The Team Spidertech rider latched on to an early breakaway group that stayed up front through most of the 141-kilometre stage, the first of six in the event. Routley crossed in the same time (3:16:31) as winner Andrea Palini of Italy.
"Will executed as we talked about before the race but Palini, who won both the KOM and the stage, was very strong," said Team Spidertech directeur sportif Michael Carter in a release.
Earlier in the season, Routley earned a podium finish in the first stage of France's Vuelta a Andalucia race, also getting out with an early breakaway and holding off a charging peloton. The Coppi e Bartali continues until Saturday (March 24).
Team Whistler back on bikes
Team Whistler's road riders are back in action as local cyclists Trevor Hopkins and J.P. Boulais have been heading down to the Lower Mainland for Spring Series races over the past couple of weekends.
Hopkins was able to post a couple of impressive results in races Saturday and Sunday (March 17 and 18) despite horrendous conditions. In Saturday's race at Bradner, Hopkins was part of a chase group that reeled in two riders from a late four-man breakaway and ended up with a ninth-place finish.
Sunday's race in Langley was shortened from 100 km to 80 km due to poor conditions and Hopkins was able to secure a sixth-place result in the B group. Boulais raced in the C group but did not finish due to the conditions.
"This past weekend had some of the worst Spring Series road race conditions I've ever raced in with snow, pissing rain, wind and temperatures (near freezing)," said Hopkins. "Surprisingly, there was still a huge turnout of diehard racers that came out like it was a warm, sunny day."
The two Team Whistler members also raced the Spring Series event in Aldergrove on March 11, with Hopkins finishing 12th in the B group and Boulais finishing mid-pack in the C group.
A larger Team Whistler contingent is expected to come out for this weekend's Spring Series events, which will feature a time trial and criterium on Saturday (March 24) in Langley and a road race Sunday (March 25).
Pehota Wrangles a victory
Logan Pehota took a couple steps up the podium at this year's Wrangle the Chute freeski competition at Golden's Kicking Horse Resort, winning the men's ski division after placing third in 2011.
Fresh off his second appearance in Red Bull Cold Rush, the 17-year-old Pemberton resident's score of 96 on Sunday (March 18) matched the highest recorded by any competitor over the two-day event, and helped him move up to top spot after he ranked third in Saturday's runs.
Pehota told Biglines.com that his last line of the competition was "pretty scary."
"But I thought I had to do it to stay in the running with the top guys and I ended up coming out on top."
Overall, the son of freeskiing pioneer Eric Pehota said he was impressed with the 2012 edition of Wrangle the Chute.
"I thought the event really got stepped up this year," said the younger Pehota. "Skiing-wise, there were a lot of really good technical lines getting done, and the event planners made a good choice letting younger skier in like Jake Teuton, Jordy Kidner, Jessy Collings and Ben Evely. It really showed how good the up-and-coming skiers are."
Rugby season approaching
The Sea to Sky Eagles rugby league team will be holding its first training session of the season on Sunday (March 25) in Squamish.
The Eagles will welcome a pro rugby league coach to the practice, which will take place at 1 p.m. at a venue to be determined. Contact team director Ally Mac at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Mac can also provide details on how to try out for the B.C. Bulldogs representative team, which will help identify players to represent Canada on an international level.