March 8, 2017
Updated Mar. 9 (Canmore, AB) – The U19 SportChek Canadian National Alpine Ski Championships wrapped up this past Sunday at Nakiska Ski Resort in Kananaskis Country, Alberta. Hosted by local ski club Calgary Alpine, the 7-day, four-event series started on Feb 27 with 2 days of downhill training followed by 2 downhill races.
50 women and 76 men contested the ‘Mapmaker’ course which saw racers hit speeds up to 118kph over the minute-long track. The open format for the downhill allowed for older racers to support the younger U19 contingent and made for the largest field at a FIS speed series in Canada for many years. Cool weather made for a firm and fast surface but gusty winds proved challenging for both racers and organizers alike. Alpine Insurance Alberta Ski Team veteran speed skier Georgia Burgess took the win in both downhills however the first race was considered the U19 National Championships which was awarded to Quebec Ski Team member Sierra Smith. Although Smith was the fastest U19 of the day she still placed 3rd in the overall standings. Rounding out the U19 podium was Kennedy Bokenfohr of the Sunridge Ski Club in Alberta in 2nd followed by Soleil Patterson of the BC Ski Team in 3rd. For the men it was BC Ski Team Max Kirshenblatt who took top honors in the first race as both U19 Champion and overall winner just 1/100th of a second ahead of Canadian Alpine Senior Team member Brodie Seger. Second place U19 spot went to BC Teamer Kyle Alexander, with 3rd place going to Reece Howden of the Canadian Ski Cross Development Team. The second downhill for the men was almost as close with Ontario Ski Team member Henry Luel taking the U19 win 3/100th of a second over another Canadian Alpine Senior Team member and NorAm Cup Champion, Tyler Werry.
Friday, March 3rd was the National Super G Championships. Swedish sisters Rebecca and Nadja Gunnarstedt took the top 2 spots on the podium just ahead of Alberta’s Georgia Burgess who finished 3rd. The men’s Championship race was won by Tyler Werry (CAST) followed by Jake Gougeon of the Ontario Ski Team. Brodie Seger (CAST) rounded out the men’s podium in 3rd.
Saturday’s Giant Slalom was a big surprise for everyone as racers, coaches and organizers arrived at the start in the early morning to find 20cm of new powder had fallen overnight. Despite a concentrated effort to clear the track, the race jury soon found it an impossible task and decided to cancel for the day as they could not guarantee a safe and fair race for the competitors.
Fortunately by Sunday the snow had abated and the soft new snow had been groomed overnight for the final day of racing with the U19 National Slalom Championships on the line. Although conditions were still challenging the race got underway later in the morning after some course holds and unexpected timing delays. In the end, after a hard fought battle for the racers and organizers alike, the Slalom Championships were won by Frances MacDonald of the Vancouver Ski Team and Declan McCormack of the Ontario Ski Team.
Full results from the series can be found at https://data.fis-ski.com/dynamic/event-details.html?event_id=40159&cal_suchsector=AL
Chief of Race and Calgary Alpine Racing Club President, Mike Gee was grateful to his crew of 60 plus volunteers. “I am humbled to work alongside such a devoted team of enthusiastic friends and am so proud of the product we delivered.” Obviously pleased with the event despite the lost GS race, Gee complimented everyone by stating it was “an incredible feat of which you all are directly responsible and should be very proud. Thank you all for your tremendous dedication to youth sport and ski racing.”
Not only was this event made possible by an incredible volunteer effort but was supported by Alpine Canada, SportChek, Nakiska Ski Resort, Delta Inn at Kananaskis and covered everyday by Shaw TV of Calgary and the Chasing Limits broadcast crew, who made this community access programming a reality. This is the third consecutive year Shaw TV has produced coverage of FIS alpine ski racing in Alberta and this was the biggest production to date. Cliff Markham (producer) and his crew did a remarkable job with on-air hosts Phoenix and Paul Stutz bringing their unique and expert perspectives to this event. Coverage will be rebroadcast on Shaw TV Calgary over the next few weeks but can be viewed on YouTube at any time at these links below.
March 1 – Downhill Day 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jaTHvtNjPgw
March 2 – Downhill Day 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zkIHfI6xeI4
March – 3 Super-G https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMd9TVpH2U8
March – 4 Giant Slalom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8w9HLUyug4
March 5 – Slalom https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xNn9hgImgUI
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