Amid sunny skies and 12 degree weather in the Comox Valley, the Mount Washington Ski Club departed for the hopefully cooler climate of Whistler for a two-day U14 Giant Slalom (GS) event last weekend, competing against 55 or more athletes from the Coast Zone in men’s and women’s events.
This race was originally meant to be hosted by the Mount Washington Ski Club, but had to be moved to the Dave Murray Downhill in Whistler, where the snow conditions were not faring much better. The challenging Olympic downhill course had a drop of 270 metres, with athletes racing from top to bottom in over one minute. All this – with limited GS training.
The Mount Washington team stood out and ascended the ranks of the top 20 and onto the podium not once but twice. The weekend consisted of two GS races on day one and a combined time GS race on day two.
Emilly Johnston of Comox in her first year of U14 racing moved from 41st to fourth in her first race of the weekend and ascended to the podium for a third-place medal in the second race of the weekend. She finished sixth in the combined race.
For Comox native Kieran Nilsen it was a personal best weekend with a third-place medal and podium in race one, an eighth place in race two and a fifth place in the combined event.
Campbell River’s Sylvi Nymann had a fantastic weekend, consistently in the top 15 with 13th, 12th and eighth place finishes. Natalia Bellefleur, also of Campbell River, moved from 22nd, to 25th and then up to a 16th place finish in the combined event.
Qualicum Beach’s Chris Raduy has a 17th place finish and a 20th place finish and first year U14 Luke Hoefer of Nanaimo pulled two consistent runs together ending with 17th and 19th place finishes.
Comox’s own Ava Langevin sped down the course on day two on her way to a top 10 finish, then suddenly blew a ski, had a big crash and was disqualified. Comox’s Anja Leikermoser, competing in her first GS race, finished all races and moved her placement up from 47th to 44th on day two. This is remarkable given the speed and vertical drop of a course this size and the limited amount of training these athletes have had.
Resiliency and perseverance drive these young athletes, who are dedicated to their sport despite the lack of snow. Next up they leave for a full week of training and then racing at Silver Star for the U14 Provincial Championships while their counterparts on the team head to Nakiska for the FIS Nor-Ams.
– Mount Washington Ski Club