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Whistler Cup gets underway with giant slalom

Whistler Cup gets underway with giant slalom{mosimage}WHISTLER VILLAGE (BC), April 2, 2005 Prevailing snow precipitations on Blackomb’s peak did not prevent the race organizing committee from hosting the first of two technical racing days at the 2005 Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup. Following yesterday’s super G cancellation and exciting evening parade in the heart of Whistler Village, more than 180 K1 and 180 K2 racers enthusiastically hit the slopes early this morning in the hope of measuring their skills against the world’s best juvenile racers.

Blackomb’s Gandy Dancer saw the K1′s (11-12 years old) charge down two highly rhythmic giant slalom courses.

On the women’s side, Norway came out strongest, winning the top two spots of this one-run race. Kristine Haugen completed the fastest run of the day with a time of 53.63, ahead by 0.57 seconds ahead of her teammate, Mia Merete Moen. Martina Dubovska from Slovakia came 3rd with a time for 54.80. Brenley Nella from Ontario’s Georgian Peaks ski club offered the best Canadian performance in the women’s K1 giant slalom race, racing to 8th place with a time of 55.65.

The K1 men’s giant slalom single-run race saw three skiers from three different continents step on the podium. Canada’s own Richard Long, also from the Georgian Peaks ski club, clinched victory with a time of 53.13, becoming the first Canadian to win gold at the Whistler Cup since Simon Mannella’s 1st place finish in the K1 giant slalom in 2001. Long edged Italy’s Emrick Marafico from Italy by a wafer-thin 0.06- second lead. Japan clinched bronze thanks to Shinya Miyamoto’s time of 53.34 seconds.

‘It’s my second time around at the Whistler Cup and this is definitively my best result’ exclaimed Long following his stellar run. ‘Last year, I finished 8th in the GS so I knew I was on the right track. One of the things that really helped me this year was participating in the IRIS Team Canada Selection Camp. There, I learned to let my body take over my mind and to view the race as a normal training session. This result gives me great confidence for next year because I know I am right there with the Europeans’ concluded today’s winner.

A highly competitive field of K2′s (13-14 years old) battled soft snow on Blackomb’s Upper Cruiser piste, featuring two challenging slalom courses.

Thea Grosvold from Norway took home gold in the women’s race after winning both runs for a combined time of 1:20.44. Grosvold skied ahead of Slovakia’s Nikola Galfvova who crossed the finish line with a time of 1:22.16.
America’s Kristen Leggett completed the podium with a time of 1:22.27. The top Canadian in the women’s slalom was Maude Longtin from the Garceau ski Club. Longtin finished 10th, with a cumulative time of 1:25.80.

‘This is my third shot at the Whistler Cup’ admitted Grosvold from the Ready ski club in Norway. ‘I love coming here because the food and the people are very different than in Norway. Each time I’ve raced here, I’ve won a medal. It would be a dream if I could come back in 2010 and do that same thing’ she concluded with a smile.

Longtin was also satisfied with her day: ‘I was shooting for a top 10 and this is what I accomplished. It’s been a bit tougher for me in slalom this year because following a knee injury this winter, I’ve had to ski with a knee brace. This limits my movement in slalom. Fortunately, I feel better in giant slalom’ she said, anxious to race in tomorrow’s giant slalom.

The men’s K2 slalom race saw two North Americans step on the podium with Colby Granstrom from the USA in 1st with a time of 1:16.32 and Mathieu Routhier from Canada in 3rd with a time of 1:16.91. Manuel Wieser from Austria managed to sneak in between the two for 2nd place with a time of 1:16.71.

‘When I first came to the Whistler Cup as a K1, I won the giant slalom and the slalom races’ said Granstrom from Lake Stevens, Washington. ‘It is great to win the slalom at the K2 level! My dream would be to be back here in 2010 for the Olympics’ concluded the confident racer who started racing at the age of 5.

‘This is a cool event’ added Mont-Orford’s Mathieu Routhier. ‘I think it paid off to ski the hill before the races during the IRIS camp’ concluded the young racer who is still working on his English.

Reflecting upon the day’s exciting race action, Willy Raine Greene, a coach for the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, said: ‘It is so encouraging to watch these young racers get stronger and stronger each year. The benefits of this race for the athletes are two-fold: the racers learn to bring their intensity up for this important race and they also get to can see where they rank with the world’s best’ concluded the ex- World Cup racer and Olympian who now enjoys sharing his wealth of experience with aspiring champions.

‘For Team USA, the Whistler Cup is a great occasion to unite top juvenile racers and top coaches from our country in the hope of developing a positive learning environment’ explained Louis Otto, a member of Team USA. ‘Every year, we leave Whistler with a wealth of new experiences’ he concluded.

Modeled after the Trofeo Topolino alpine ski races in Italy, where the top juvenile ski racers in the world have competed for over 40 years, The Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup has already become the pre-eminent North American event on the international juvenile ski-racing calendar. Nearly all current Alpine Ski team members; 30 out of an eligible 32, have roots in Whistler Cup competition, proving it to be an important stepping-stone in the development of young Canadian racers. Past Whistler Cup participants include Benjamin Raich, Tina Maze, Sarah Schleper, Karen Putzer, Anja Paerson, Nicole Hosp and Canadians Jeff Hume, Allison Forsyth, Britt Janyk, Erik Guay, Genevieve Simard and Emily Brydon to name a few.

The Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup is sanctioned by the international ski federation (FIS) and organized by the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, which has been in existence for over three decades. The club is dedicated to the development of young ski racers in all Alpine events. For more information and for live timing, visit http://www.whistlercup.com/whistlercup/controls/live/racelistiframe.aspx.

K2 WOMEN SLALOM – SIERRA WIRELESS WHISTLER CUP / K2 – FILLES – SLALOM
1 (6) GROSVOLD, Thea [NOR] – K2 0:38.29 0:42.15 1:20.44
2 (7) GALFYOVA, Nikola [SVK] – K2 0:39.76 0:42.40 1:22.16
3 (13) FORD, Julia [USA] – K2 0:40.23 0:43.49 1:23.72
4 (24) LOESET, Mona [NOR] – K2 0:40.30 0:43.47 1:23.77
5 (26) RENDALL, Annie [USA] – K2 0:40.22 0:43.86 1:24.08
6 (23) KADUROVA, Dominika [SVK] – K2 0:41.76 0:43.69 1:25.45
7 (22) SEBOKOVA, Petra [SVK] – K2 0:41.65 0:44.03 1:25.68
8 (25) LONGTIN, Maude [CAN] – K2 0:41.51 0:44.29 1:25.80
9 (28) TRINKER, Angelika [AUT] – K2 0:41.76 0:44.30 1:26.06
10 (45) BIRDGENEAU, Alexa [CAN] – K2 0:41.71 0:44.68 1:26.39
11 (20) MIELZYNSKI, Erin [CAN] – K2 0:42.19 0:44.76 1:26.95
12 (35) CORTOPASSI , Kaylee Ann [USA] – K2 0:42.06 0:44.90 1:26.96
13 (29) COLLINSON, Angel [USA] – K2 0:42.37 0:45.63 1:28.00
13 (12) BOUMAN, Sanne [NED] – K2 0:41.94 0:46.06 1:28.00
15 (53) RAMSDEN, Calandy [CAN] – K2 0:42.56 0:45.71 1:28.27

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE 2005 SIERRA WIRELESS WHISTLER CUP

Sunday, April 3, 2005
10 a.m. K1 Slalom (on Upper Cruiser)
10 a.m. K2 Giant slalom (on Gandy Dancer)

K1 MEN GIANT SLALOM
1 (9) LONG, Richard [CAN] – K1 0:53.13
2 (5) MARAFICO, Emrick [ITA] – K1 0:53.19
3 (8) MIYAMOTO, Shinya [JPN] – K1 0:53.34
4 (10) SHAW, Gunner [USA] – K1 0:54.21
5 (36) SWETTE, Ford [CAN] – K1 0:54.41
6 (12) OGIHARA, Shunsuke [JPN] – K1 0:54.57
7 (25) SCHULER, Hank [USA] – K1 0:54.64
8 (18) MACKENZIE, Tyler [CAN] – K1 0:54.77
9 (7) BENDIK, Martin [SVK] – K1 0:55.23
10 (19) BRITVAR, James [USA] – K1 0:55.44
11 (16) KILDE, Aleksander [NOR] – K1 0:55.61
12 (21) PHILIP, Trevor [CAN] – K1 0:55.64
13 (15) FARRELL, Brad [USA] – K1 0:55.68
14 (29) TAILLEFER, Patrick [CAN] – K1 0:55.
79
15 (39) KONANTZ, Willy [CAN] – K1 0:55.96

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