It’s difficult to talk about ski racing in Whistler without mentioning Olympian siblings Britt and Mike Janyk — arguably two of the best ski racers the resort has ever produced.
But if last Sunday’s (Jan. 7) inaugural Janyk Cup race was any indication, young local skiers are already well on track to follow in their footsteps.
Thomas Legg and Carys Griffin were crowned the overall winners of the U12 event, after Legg secured two first-place finishes in the boys’ giant slalom, and Griffin nailed down both a first-place and fourth-place performance in the ladies’ events.
“I feel amazed. Especially because I’m a year younger than most of these guys competing, it feels good,” Legg said.
It was the second win of the weekend for the 10-year-old, who also took the overall title in Saturday’s Nancy Greene festival alongside WMSC’s Sophie Neeves, who led the ladies’ standings.
The win also felt good for Griffin, 11, who credited a few summer development camps with helping her improve her skills from last season. “I wasn’t surprised I was in the top 10, but to win the whole thing was really surprising,” she said.
WMSC has held the Nancy Greene Ski League Festival U12 race for years, this year the event included the inaugural Janyk Cup, following late Coun. Andrée Janyk’s passing last year. The event celebrates the many contributions she and her family have made to the sport of ski racing, both in Whistler and around the world.
“We had the idea in honour of Mike and Britt and Andrée, but especially (with) Mike and Britt being Olympians, to celebrate the athletes we have in town, so we named it the Janyk Cup,” explained Jeff Parkhill, Chairman of Rio Tinto Nancy Greene Ski League Festival and Janyk Cup.
While Britt donated one of the many FIS cups she managed to win over the span of her career as the event trophy, “It was great to have Britt and Mike both forerun the event too, which is pretty special,” Parkhill added.
As for taking the win in the inaugural event named for two of his role models, “It’s quite the honour,” Legg added. “It’s nice to have two hometown (WMSC) people take this away.”
Griffin agreed, adding: “When I joined this club I didn’t know they would be World Cup champions and really good skiers — I wasn’t expecting that. It’s just nice to have them as coaches.”
The event followed another busy Saturday for the U12 skiers on Whistler’s slopes, with the Nancy Greene festival and skills event drawing 115 competitors to the start gates, in addition to the 139 who raced Sunday. Just under 300 awards were handed out over the course of the weekend, Parkhill explained.
“This is a little different because we’re running so many events in one day — four in one day and then two today,” Parkhill said following Sunday’s awards. “It’s a big deal and it’s great for the club.
Hosting that many events — and ensuring they’re run smoothly — wouldn’t have been possible without the nearly 70 volunteers who contributed to the effort, he added.
Mike Janyk also took the opportunity to thanks the course workers during the awards ceremony — a group that often included his mother during past years. “This is also part of the legacy my mom left, which is a lot of volunteer hours,” he said. “That’s really what ski racing is about — community and having a good time.”
Despite winning the entire event, that sense of community was exactly what Griffin named as her favourite part of the day. “I liked how everyone was cheering for each other and they were all really supportive,” she said.