It was Jesse Shepherd's day today as he flew down Rogers Run at Georgian Peaks in an overall time of 1.41.16 just .25 seconds ahead of rival Dustin Cook. For the second day in a row Jesse won the race, lucky for him that today is the official race day Alpine Canada Alpin recognizes the National Junior Giant Slalom titleholder with only J1 skiers (15 & 16 years) entered in the competition.
Despite an entire night of rain and +8 temperatures this morning the course workers, along with 50 bags of fertilizer, maintained the course for the 200+ competitors. With periods of rain, fog and colder weather in the afternoon both races held up in good condition. Shepherd looked relaxed skiing down in front of 100+ spectators in the finish line. “I'm definitely happy, it is starting to come together. I am figuring out the tricky parts on the course, what works for me. The snow was a bit rough, the morning run very foggy so that I was squinting to find the gates. I just let my skis run.” Shepherd who started the season with many dnf's has consistently finished on the J1 Podium in the last three race series he has entered.
Dustin Cook (Ottawa), evidently a fierce competitor, was not pleased to miss out today.
“I'm definitely not happy. I made a lot of mistakes on the pitch but skied the flats really well. Stupid little mistakes are costing me time, it is definitely making me mad.” Cook along with Shepherd was a full second ahead of the field.
Routhier, (Sherbrooke, Quebec's) took third spot again today finishing in 1.42.58. He had some wild turns on the pitch and came flying into the finish against the netting. “I was on the inside on the pitch but fast on the flats. The hill was harder than yesterday. I was late in my first run finishing in 8th spot this morning. Luckily I was calm, I gave it my all this afternoon.”
On the women's side no one looked happier than Quebec's Catherine Blanchard from Orford and the Estrie Zone team. She came through the finish close to tears and was immediately surrounded by her team mates. Catherine could not stop smiling all afternoon after her finish put her in top spot with a time of 1.43.90. This group from the Eastern Townships certainly knows about sportsmanship as they carried Blanchard up on their shoulders to receive her gold medal.
“I am so so happy. I had a good start to my season but lately I've been in a slump. You have to always believe in yourself, that is the hardest part. Yesterday I did not finish and my coach was tough on me, so today I said I would show him I could do it. It was not my best skiing, the 2nd run was tough, you want to be fast but not fall, I skied safe but tried to be aggressive.”
B.C.'s Big White Ski Club skier Kelsey Serwa and West Vancouver's Georgian Simmerling were just 0.08 seconds apart