Markus Nilsen (Norway) and Marcel Hirscher (Austria) Men's K2 GS
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Victoria Whitney and Jennifer Mah, Whistler Mountain Ski Club - 2004 Whistler Cup
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More than 300 elite alpine racers from around the world are headed home with new friendships and key international race experience following the closing events of the 2004 Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup at Whistler Mountain, home of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games' alpine events.

For some of those athletes, luggage will be a little bit heavier for the return trip, loaded down with medals, plaques and trophies earned over the three days of competition in Whistler.

The Norwegians once again claimed top honours, successfully defending their Nation's Cup title, while in Canada, the top province was Ontario, which walks away with this year's Provincial Cup.

As part of the final awards presentations, the Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup race organizing committee also honours the top Canadian male and female athletes of the competition. The trophies are named after two Canadian ski legends, with the men's trophy baring the name of Crazy Canuck Dave Murray, and the women's named after Canada's Female Athlete of the Century Nancy

This year's K1 Dave Murray Award was presented to a young racer carries a name that is also engraved in ski racing history. Calgary's Erik Read, whose father Ken raced alongside Murray as one of the Crazy Canucks in the '70s and '80s, is the 2004 K1 recipient of the Dave Murray trophy.

“Dave was an inspiration to us on the team, and for the work he did with the Whistler community, the Whistler World Cups, and Masters racing after he retired from the national team,” said a proud Ken Read, the current president of Alpine Canada Alpin. “Dave continues to be an inspiration through his legacy and this award. It's great to see a new generation of Crazy Canucks step up and share in that legacy.”

Erik Read was also the men's K1 slalom top-Canadian, finishing sixth while Ontario's Philip Brown was eighth. The slalom, which was disputed on the Upper Dave Murray, was won by Italy's Rocco Delsante in 1:13.04, while Americans Michael Ankeny and Michael Radford finished second and third respectively.

Another Albertan, Edmonton's Brandon Mudryk, was also honoured for his performances throughout the three days of racing at the 2004 Sierra Wireless Whistler Cup. Mudryk, the second-fastest Canadian in Sunday's one-run K2 men's giant slalom, is the K2 Dave Murray trophy winner. Ontario's Braden Long was the top Canadian finishing one spot ahead of Mudryk in 14th, while
Norway's Markus Nilsen took the win.

“My goal today was just to do the best I possibly could and to see how far that would take me. GS is definitely my best event,” said Nilsen, whose brother Andreas races in the technical events on the World Cup circuit. “I'd like to follow in his footsteps one day.”

Marcel Hirsch of Austria, who beat Nilsen in the giant slalom at Topolino in Italy this season, was second in 47.21 seconds, while teammate Max Franz finished third.

Earning this year's K1 Nancy Greene trophy was Canada's top finisher in the women's slalom on Sunday, Shannon Campbell of Ontario. Campbell was fifth in the slalom, while teammates Marissa Riopelle and Madison Irwin finished eighth and ninth respectively.

Kristina Riis-Johannessen of Norway was the gold-medal winner in the K1 women's slalom, finishing in 1:13.39. She was joined on the podium by Americans Devin Delaney and Joelle Chevalier who earned silver and bronze respectively.

Vancouver's Georgia Simmerling, who has been a stand-out among the Canadian women's K2 contingent throughout the week, is this year's recipient of the K2 Nancy Greene trophy. Simmerling was the only Canadian to crack the top-10 in Sunday's one-run giant slalom, finishing ninth.

“My run was really aggressive until the end. I almost missed the last gate and that caused me to lose some time. I should have been a lot faster,” said Simmerling, who enjoyed the course set and conditions for the final event of the Whistler Cup.

Anna Fenninger of Salzburg, Austria, laid down the fastest run in the women's GS on Sunday, finishing in 47.10 seconds for the gold. Norwegians Thea Hovde and Nina Loeseth finished second and third.

“I'm happy to have done so well at this event,” said Fenninger, who earned two gold and one bronze over the three days of racing. “I achieved what I came here to do