Whistler’s Sofiane Gagnon capped off a golden season last week with her first-ever national title at the Canadian Championships in Val Saint-Côme, Que.
The 17-year-old freestyle skier, competing for Team Ontario, beat out Alex-Anne Gagnon (no relation) in the dual moguls’ big final on March 19 to secure the title, bringing her season tally to a grand total of four wins.
Gagnon also finished just off the podium in Saturday’s moguls event with her fourth-place finish.
“I felt a lot of pressure (Saturday), in the singles competition. I was really emotional at the top and didn’t feel great, but still had a good day, coming fourth,” said Gagnon in a statement to Freestyle Canada. “(On Sunday), I woke up and I wanted it: I fought and pushed and skied my hardest. I’m really happy I came back from a really emotional day (Saturday) to win. It’s a big surprise, I wasn’t expecting this.”
This year marked Gagnon’s third appearance at the Canadian Championships.
WB freestylers qualify for Junior Nationals
Several local freestyle skiers are busy gearing up for the biggest competition of the season.
Last week, a group of Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club (WBFSC) members received the good news that they’ve qualified for the Canadian Junior Freestyle National Championships, giving them one last opportunity to lay it all out on the line in hopes of earning a national title before the 2016-2017 season comes to an end.
On the men’s side, Chase Ujejski, Anders Ujejski, Kai Smart, Ben Lynch, Julien Chartrand, Kai Martin, Owen Ternoway, Steven Kahnert, and Hugh Saint Jacques represent the WBFSC amongst the list of qualifying athletes, as well as Luke Smart for Team BC.
In the women’s events, WBFSC qualifiers include Josephine Howell, Skye Clarke, Chase Capicik, Cassidy Butterworth, and Lynnett Con.
The Junior National Championships are set to take place in Whistler April 7 to 9, which this year means they’ll be held as part of the World Ski and Snowboard Festival. The Blackcomb terrain park will play host to the competition’s slopestyle, big air and halfpipe events.
‘Bonus’ Nordic skiing at WOP
While the first day of spring may have already come and gone, winter is sticking around at Whistler Olympic Park for a little while longer.
Although Ski Callaghan’s regular season ends on Sunday (April 2), this year’s abundance of snowfall is allowing the club to offer Nordic skiers two bonus weekends in April.
Nearly 40 kilometres of Whistler Olympic Park and Callaghan Country WIlderness Adventure’s joint trail system will remain open for cross-country skiing and 10 km for snowshoeing on April 8 to 9 and April 15 to 16 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Rental equipment will also be available at Callaghan Country’s Alexander Falls Touring Centre.
While Ski Callaghan season passes will remain valid for the two bonus weekends, reduced day rates will be implemented for non-passholders. Single-day trail access for cross-country skiing will cost $20 per adult and $12.50 for youth, while snowshoeing costs $12.50 for adults and $7.50 for youth. Dogs are also welcome on many of the trails, with an added fee of $5 per dog for those who wish to bring their pets.
Last year was the first time WOP-operator Whistler Sport Legacies posted a surplus in its seven-year history.