Panorama Mountain hosts Pontiac GMC Cup - Women's GS - BC Alpine Ski Association

Top J1's - Pontiac Cup 04_05 GS - 1.Lucy Lynch 2.Kayla Leman (Alberta) 3.Georgia Simmerling (Grouse Tyee/VST)
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BC Ski Team (left to right) Alison Leighton, Jenni Graham, Charlotte Whitney, Danielle Robson, Lindsay Kraft and Kendall Benbow (in the centre)
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Day one of the Pontiac GMC FIS Race Series in beautiful Panorama was greeted with blue skies, cool temperatures and rock-hard snow. It was women's Giant Slalom on the agenda Wednesday and the BC Team women got off to a brilliant start.

Danielle Poleschuk of Fernie, BC was poised to win after a blazing first-run time of one minute, 9.01 seconds. A bit of trouble on the second time through the course left her in a respectable 10th place for the day with a combined time of 2:24.53.

Canadian Alpine Ski Team Development Team's Christina Risler of Vancouver had BC's best combined time taking the number 5 spot while Whistler's Anastasia Skryabina was not far behind her finishing 7th.

Three BC Team athletes were there to round out the top-15, with Danielle Robson (Whistler), Jenni Graham (Mt. Washington) and Lindsay Kraft (Vernon) finishing 9th, 11th and 15th respectively.

There were some impressive performances by several J1 athletes from BC. Georgia Simmerling (Grouse/Tyee), wearing bib number 77, moved up to finish in 18th position and was the third fastest J1 for the day. Sandra MacDonald (Apex) started 83rd and came in 23rd. Kelsey Serwa (Big White), starting in the 108th position, skied her way to a 24th place finish. Julia Peters (Mt. Washington) was the 100th racer out of the gate and pulled off a 26th place result while Elli Terwiel (Sun Peaks) wrapped up the day in 29th position after starting 81st.

Now in its seventh season, the Pontiac GMC Cup series will feature 32 races in four provinces before the national championships in March. The kick-off event at Panorama Mountain runs until December 20. The series culminates with the 2005 Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships at Mont Ste-Anne and Le Massif, in Quebec, from March 17-22, 2005. The best young athletes from Canada compete head-to-head against athletes from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in speed and technical events.

This season, Canada's National Alpine Ski Team is emphasizing technical skills on the developmental circuit.

“In order to keep up with the evolution of the sport of alpine ski racing, we have decided to focus on the technical development of our athletes,” said Max Gartner, Chief Athletics Officer, Alpine Canada Alpin. “It is important to spend more time on technical events during the formative development years. This will allow us to develop our athletes to the desired technical level needed to compete successfully at the World Cup level in all disciplines, including speed events. This is a strategic change that is part of our long-term development plan.”

Competition continues Thursday with the second Women's GS.