It was a successful weekend on the slopes for some of the region’s younger skiers looking to further their race skills at the Rio Tinto Nancy Greene Ski League Festival and Speed Camp from Jan. 21 to 22.
In addition to the 166 skiers aged eight to 12 that participated in the event, 60 volunteers and 25 coaches from Southwestern B.C. took part in the festivities.
“It was definitely a success,” said Jason Shorter, now in his fourth year as chairman and volunteer for the festival.
“We didn’t have injuries — thank God — and everybody seemed to have fun, so that’s the best part of it all,” he added.
Alexa Brownlie and Thomas Legg, both of Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) were named the overall winners of the event after earning the most points of any girl and boy, respectively.
While Shorter said the long-running event’s structure has evolved over the years, this year’s festival was “a carbon copy” of the 2016 event.
“We came up with this formula last year, and it was really well-received,” said Shorter.
The skiers were broken up into divisions by birth year — 2005, 2006 and 2007 — and again by gender. The weekend capped off with speed training on Sunday, after spending Saturday competing in four skills-based disciplines: a super giant slalom race, a turns event, a dual “glalom” (a head-to-head race with turns spaced about halfway between a slalom and a giant slalom), as well as a tuck and skate race.
“They tuck and rip down this section at the top of Ptarmigan, and then they do a big ‘J’ turn and then they have to skate uphill to cross the line,” Shorter explained.
While the event was previously run as a straight line, organizers decided to reformat the discipline after participants were registering similar speeds to the point where there would be 15-way ties.
“Surprisingly the kids really like it, because if they nail that ‘J’ turn, they don’t have to skate very much at all, and the kids that don’t nail the turn, they’ve got to skate like hell,” he said.
Each of the four judged events are ranked individually, after which participants’ rankings are converted to points to determine each age division’s top 10 — which saw the WMSC heavily represented again this year.
For many of the young skiers, this event marked their first time officially competing on skies.
“It’s kind of an introduction to racing for the kids,” Shorter explained. “We open it up to the J4 crew on Whistler Blackcomb, so that gets a whole lot of the nine-year-olds involved. We’re hoping that the kids will love what they do at this event and will want to continue.”
Alexa Brownlie (WMSC)
Isabelle Bexton (WMSC)
Chloe Craig (WMSC)
Milan Novak (WMSC)
Graeme Eder (Grouse Mountain)
Felix Shorter (WMSC)
Viveka Deck Stang (WMSC)
Brooke Irish (Grouse Mountain)
Gaia Fameli (Cypress)
Thomas Hung (Grouse Mountain)
Joseph James Gibbons (WMSC)
Pearce Manning Avini (Grouse Mountain)
Nicole Webb (J4)
Sidney Wallin (J4)
Mia Aiello (J4)
Thomas Legg (WMSC)
Ryan Perron (J4)
Lennon Lazare (J4)