Sports in brief: Rey leaves ski cross racing

Whistler product switching focus to freeskiing

Another Whistler product has left the Canadian men's ski cross team, as Stan Rey announced last Thursday (May 24) that he's making a career change.

Rey is making the switch from racing to freeskiing and, with a contract with Salomon in place, hopes to produce or star in ski films in the future.

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"My dream was always to go to the Olympics but in the back of my mind I knew I would go into big mountain or freeskiing one day," said Rey, who has lived in Whistler since moving from Switzerland at age 7. "You have to be 100 per cent into what you are doing or you will never be successful. My true passion for the sport is skiing powder, getting air and jumping cliffs, that kind of thing. I've been wanting to do this for a while."

The 24-year-old was the 2010 Nor-Am Cup ski cross champ and won the national men's title the same year. He spent the past two seasons as a regular on the World Cup tour but had both campaigns shortened by injuries.

Rey's career-best World Cup result was 14th at Blue Mountain, Ont., in 2011 but his fourth-place finish at the Winter X Games stood out as a highlight from his time in racing.

Rey's announcement came less than a week after Whistler's Davey Barr retired from racing. The national ski cross team has also lost Quesnel's Brian Bennett to retirement this offseason but Louis-Pierre Helie is coming over to the program from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team.

Rey said filming a heli-ski trip to Alaska will be his ultimate goal as he moves from the race course to the backcountry.

"Everyone on the ski cross team has been super encouraging," he said. "It's been a lot of fun, for sure, but I'm excited about making a change and looking forward to seeing what I can do in freeskiing."

Chaddock hits podium twice

Whistler's Ben Chaddock recorded back-to-back podiums in a USA Cycling National Criterium Calendar (NCC), continuing a solid start to his season with Team Exergy.

Chaddock took second spot in the time trial prologue and third in the main event of the May 18 and 19 Wilmington Grand Prix in Vermont, the site of his first pro podium a season ago.

"I've been waiting for this result for a long time and I'm just happy to tick it off the 'to-do' list," the 25-year-old wrote on his blog following the result. "My teammates have been supporting me every day for the past four races so it was great to share the result with them."

Chaddock finished the five-kilometre time trial in 6 minutes, 25 seconds and sat on the lead until the final rider of the day, Dan Harm, who set a new course record at 6:08 to knock Chaddock off the top of the podium.

In the criterium held the following day, Chaddock made a key last-lap sprint to move up into third spot, finishing behind winner Demis Aleman of Team Jamis/Sutter Home and runner-up Hilton Clarke of Team UnitedHealthcare.

"It was a great feeling to move up in the sprint finish and do a good sprint," wrote Chaddock.

Following the results at Wilmington, Chaddock sits 14th in the individual overall NCC standings while Team Exergy is third in the team rankings.

Local skiers on B.C. teams

The men's and women's B.C. ski teams will once again be full of Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) products for the 2012-'13 season despite the departure of a few local skiers.

B.C. Alpine announced the training group rosters for the upcoming season, which included four WMSC skiers on the men's team and two on the women's.

Broderick Thompson, Ford Swette and Brodie Seger are all returning for another season with the men's team, while Blake Ramsden has also been added to the group following a tremendous 2012 season.

The B.C. team announcement followed news from earlier in May that Thompson and Swette have been named to Alpine Canada's prospect group.

Whistler's Ben MacLean is leaving the team after three seasons to pursue higher education, while Conrad Pridy has made the national team.

Charley Field and Emma King will both be back with the women's team next winter but three WMSC grads will be leaving the squad.

Jocelyn Ramsden and Kailee Darlington have opted to retire and attend school full-time, said a B.C. Alpine release. Meanwhile, Sofi Leroux will continue to pursue ski racing and education at Idaho's Sun Valley Ski Academy.

WMSC members win B.C. Alpine awards

Two skiers and one coach from the WMSC were honoured for their 2012 seasons during the B.C. Alpine awards banquet held May 18 in Kelowna.

Ryan Jazic, the Whistler club's head coach of FIS-level athletes, was named the province's top FIS coach of the year.

Esme McTavish was honoured with the Cary Mullen Award, which is given to an athlete displaying the most sportsmanlike conduct as selected by the B.C. Alpine board.

Finally, Rae Swette was selected for a Bob Parsons Memorial Fund bursary in the amount of $1,000. The award named for the WMSC founder is given to J1 or J2 skiers demonstrating leadership and dedication to ski racing.

Whistler talents on B.C. snowboard squad

There will be a huge Whistler contingent on the B.C. Snowboard Freestyle Team next winter, as seven of the 11 athletes named to the squad on Saturday (May 26) hail from the resort.

The local riders selected to the team are Graham Flemming, Miles Fortolozcky, Sabrina Gauthier, Tanner Holland, Kyle Jasper, Max Melvin-McNutt and Adam Wissenz. Saturday's team announcement came on the heels of next year's provincial snowboard cross team being revealed, with Whistler's Meghan Hebert named to the roster.

Drop-in football sessions coming

The Whistler Saints/Sea to Sky Broncos football club is recruiting for the upcoming North Shore Football League season and will be holding youth drop-in nights throughout June.

Boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 12 interested in playing football are invited to the free sessions taking place at the Spring Creek Community School field on Friday nights. Participants will be taught the basics of football and fundamental skills while playing scrimmages as well.

The drop-in sessions will run on June 8, 15 and 22 between 3 and 5 p.m. Players can wear soccer cleats if available but no other equipment is needed besides appropriate outdoor play clothes.

For more information, contact Ralph at 604-935-0301 or

Pehota, Doucet drive to sixth

Pemberton's Eric Pehota and Richard Doucet had an impressive showing at this year's Rocky Mountain Rally, held Friday and Saturday (May 25 and 26) in Calgary.

With Pehota behind the wheel and Doucet as co-driver, the duo finished sixth overall in their 2003 Subaru WRX Wagon. They also posted the quickest total time among cars in the production GT class.

Pehota and Doucet finished the 13-stage race in one hour, 38 minutes, 40 seconds. That put them about 16 minutes back of the winning team of Antoine L'Estage and Nathalie Richard, who won the event for a third-straight year.

Karate kids compete in Qepen III

The Qepen III First Nations Karate Tournament took place Saturday (May 26) at Mount Currie's Ullus Community Complex with several local athletes from the host Pemberton/Whistler Karate Club involved.

Though the meet was open to all, special trophies were awarded to the top First Nations' competitors. Emily Williams picked up the female award while Talon Pascal won the male trophy.

Williams placed first in kumite (sparring) and third in kata (forms) in the girls' 8-and-under division, while Pascal finished third in the boys' kumite 8-and-under novice group.

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