King of the Rail returns

Also in sports briefs: Sharpe wins Dew Tour, Whistler Nordics podium on NorAm circuit

Christmas is a time to rest, relax and enjoy some downtime with family and friends.

Well, so long as you’re not a snowsport enthusiast spending the holidays in Whistler. If that’s the case and you’re hoping to get the competitive juices flowing this season, Whistler Blackcomb (WB) has some good news for you.  

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The longstanding rail jam contest King of the Rail is returning to the resort, this year as a three-part series. The contests culminate in the crowning of king and queen of the rail following the final event. These titles are up for grabs amongst several categories, including snowboarders and skiers, kings and queens and adult and youth.

It will be “great competition for the participants and an excellent show for the spectators,” WB promised.

The three-part series will take place from 7 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. at the base of Whistler Mountain, next to Fitzsimmons Chair, on Dec. 20, Dec. 27 and Jan. 3.

The events feature over $7,500 in cash and prizes, including a $300 winner-takes-all cash prize (per category) in the final event. Participants can register in person at Showcase Snowboards retail store between 5:30 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. on the day of each event, or pre-register through Guest Services.

Registration costs $15 each, though athletes can save $5 by registering for all three at once. Helmets are mandatory, while mouth guards are recommended.

For more information, call WB’s reservation center at 1-800-766-0449.

Cassie Sharpe tops Dew Tour podium

Cassie Sharpe further cemented her status as one of the best halfpipe skiers in the sport with her victory at the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, CO. on Friday (Dec. 15).

The Whistler resident nailed two solid runs down the pipe to lock down the top spot on the podium, bringing her even closer to a spot at the Olympic Winter Games in February.

After earning a score of 88.33 in the qualifying round, Sharpe stepped up her execution in the final, convincing the judges to award her a score of 93.66. That score edged her into first place, ahead of the leader, French skier and World Cup champion Marie Martinod. “I knew that I could do better after my first run and I just needed to clean up the run that I already had to bump myself up and that’s what I did. And it worked, which was a relief,” said Sharpe in a release.

This was Sharpe’s first Dew Tour victory, as well as her third time attending the event. She finished second in 2015. Sharpe also won the FIS World Cup opener in Cardrona, New Zealand, earlier this season.

On the men’s side, Noah Bowman was the top Canadian, finishing fifth. Mike Riddle also made the finals, finishing seventh, while Whistler’s Simon d’Artois followed last week’s World Cup podium performance with a 13th place finish.

Whistler Nordics perform well at NorAms

The Whistler Nordics cross-country skiers are celebrating a strong start to ski season, following successful performances at a pair of NorAm races.

First, at the NorAm and US Super Tour event at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre, on Dec. 9 and 10, Whistler Nordic’s Joe Davies kicked off the weekend with a second-place finish in the 5 km junior boys race in the mass start classic Haywood NorAm.

In the junior women’s sprint final later that day, Whistler’s Benita Peiffer cracked the top 10 (after finishing fourth in qualifiers), completing the 1.3 km course in 3:24:03 to earn eighth place, followed by clubmate Lucie Colin just over four seconds behind her to finish ninth.

In the following day’s 10 km interval start free event, Colin repeated her ninth-place performance, while Peiffer followed in 13thplace, just under a minute behind.

There was also a double podium for the local club in the junior boys race, with Michael Murdoch finishing second, and Davies behind him in third.

Mila Wittenberg also had a good race, picking up a seventh place finish in the junior girls.

This past weekend, the team travelled to Rossland for their second NorAm event. In Friday’s (Dec. 15) stage 1 interval start classic race, Davies finished the 10 km junior boys race in second, while Murdoch took seventh in the junior men.
Colin took fifth in the junior women’s 5 km race, followed by Peiffer in seventh. In the junior girls’ division, Wittenberg finished eighth, while Marlie Molinaro picked up a sixth-place result in the juvenile girls category.

On Saturday (Dec. 16), Peiffer landed on the podium in the 1.4 km junior women’s sprint heat final, while Colin placed eighth. Wittenberg took sixth in the junior girls, while Davies took seventh in the junior boys. Molinaro also landed on the podium, picking up a bronze in the juvenile girls event.

There were even more podiums to be captured on Sunday (Dec. 17) in the Mini Tour stage 3 pursuit free, with Colin earning bronze in the junior women’s race, followed by Peiffer in fourth.

In the Day 3 mass start, Davies picked up another second place in the junior boys 10 km event, while Molinaro finished sixth amongst the juvenile girls.

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