January 20, 2020
Alberta Alpine was well represented this past week at the 2020 World Winter Masters Games in Innsbruck, Austria. The Winter Games, which are held every 4 years like the Olympics, hosted 700 alpine athletes, from over 32 countries. The field was split into A and B/C categories of men 30-60 years old, and men/women 60-85 years/30-85 years with two race runs handling an enormous field of up to 350 athletes per day.
The Alberta Masters contributed 11 athletes to a Canadian contingent of over 60 racers, including Bonnie Wiegele, Patty Edgar, Irene Collins, Lucie Filion, Katherine Schroeder, Fred Hughes, Hugh Geiger, Darren Gee, Andrew Dawson, Jason Barton, Adam Kennedy, and coach Claudio Berto.
Day 1 featured a non-FIS, sprint GS format that saw the Canadians take home 5 medals in total. Alberta athletes Irene Collins (C-7, 1955-59) captured silver, while Patty Edgar (C-9, 1945-49) and Darren Gee (A-5, 1965-69) captured bronze. Katherine Schroeder (C-2, 1980-84) was just off the podium in 4th.
Day 2 featured a challenging FIS 2-run slalom on the A side and one run GS on the B/C side. Alberta athletes Jason Barton (A-3, 1975-79) and Katherine Schroeder were just off the podium in 4th, while Irene Collins and Bonnie Wiegele (C-10, 1940-44) were 5th and 6th, respectively.
Day 3 saw the A side racing a one run GS with 345 athletes down one course while the B side men raced a two run Slalom on a separate pitch. The Alberta team was held off the podium this day under very challenging dark and icy conditions.
Day 4 was the final day for the A side men and was originally scheduled as a SG, however, lack of snow on the lower part of the mountain resulted in insufficient vertical for FIS requirements. Instead another one run GS was held with a large field of over 340 athletes. Jason Barton was the only top 10 with a 9th place finish on another challenging day. At the same time, over on the opposite side, women raced slalom. Here the Alberta Masters were just off the podium with 4th, 5th and 6th place finishes by Katherine Schroeder, Irene Collins and Bonnie Wiegele.
The final day of racing saw the B and C side men and women racing a one run GS. Katherine Schroeder was the only top 10 this day with a 7th place finish.
Overall, it was a very successful games for the Alberta Masters contingent.
As Coach Claudio Berto commented, “the whole team deserves a huge pat on the back after making the long trek to race against some of the world’s best, including some ex-world cup athletes!”
The Alberta Masters would like to thank Jan Sekerak, at Nakiska for his integral role and ongoing support getting the team ready for this international competition.
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