BC Alpine names 13 skiers to the 2022 BC Training Group

BC Alpine names 13 skiers to the 2022 BC Training Group

BC Alpine announced the addition of six young women and four young men from across the province to the BC Training Group, a major stepping stone towards BC Ski Team selection.

All newcomers to the provincial system, the 10 skiers represent five ski clubs: Whistler Mountain Ski Club qualified four, Grouse-Tyee Ski Club three, Big White Racers, Sun Peaks Alpine Club and the Vernon Ski Club, each with one a piece.

The 10 ski racers will join three returning members – Tait Jordan (WMSC), Dylan Timm (FAST) and Heming Sola (Apex/OST) – throughout the summer and preparation phase. 

The BCST for the 2022-23 season will be named in November.

“We are very proud of the athletes in BC and of the rich history for excellence and performance among our racers,” said Anders Hestdalen, the BC Alpine CEO. “More than a third of national team athletes come from BC and our coaches and athletes are tirelessly working to continue that success.”

Six young women “pushing hard”

Montana Molyneux returns to the BCST staff this season but in a new role as the head coach of the women’s program.

“It’s been amazing to have this group come together to push each other and themselves out of their comfort zones and work hard,” said Molyneux. “This is a great group of young women and they are working hard to establish a strong team culture.”

The women’s group will continue training in Whistler “focusing on building their bodies, mindsets, and their team’s culture,”and have an on snow camp scheduled in Europe in early September.

Mix of youth and experience for men’s group

According to BCST men’s head coach Morgan Pridy the men’s group is brimming with potential along with stability from the returning skiers.

“It’s still early but our training group athletes are figuring out each day a bit more about what kind of work it will take to be prepared for our upcoming on-snow camps in the late summer and fall,” said Pridy. “We are really fortunate to have a strong veteran presence in TJ (Tait Jordan), Heming (Sola), and Dyl (Dylan Timm) to lend an assist in showing them the ropes and hopefully aiding in a smooth transition from training group to the BCST in the future.”

Some BCST members are not returning to the team. “A heartfelt goodbye and thank you to Nathan Romanin (WMSC), Heiko Ihns (RMR) and Gerrit Van Soest (VSC) for their years of commitment and leadership; we wish them all the luck in the world with their future endeavours which they will undoubtedly crush,” said Johnny Crichton, BC Alpine VP Athletics. 

Pre season training for the men’s group will include an on-snow camp in Chile for four weeks in late August to late September at El Colorado. “Elevation is about 11,000 feet so the training prior to this is very important if we actually want to be able to train at that elevation,” said Pridy who will be joined by returning coach Dustin Koepke.

In October the group will train at the “Ice Box” (indoor skiing) in Austria as well as some glacier training in Germany.

BC Ski Team:

  • Dylan Timm (2002) Fernie Alpine Ski Team (Fernie)
  • Heming Sola (2003) Apex Ski Club/Okanagan Ski Team (Summerland)
  • Tait Jordan (2002) Whistler Mountain Ski Club (North Vancouver)

BC Women’s Training Group:

  • Shayna Little (2005) Big White Ski Club/Okanagan Ski Team (Kelowna)
  • Mila Plavsic (2004) Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club (Vancouver)
  • Talyn Lorimer (2004) Sun Peaks Alpine Club (Kamloops)
  • Erin Husken (2005) Whistler Mountain Ski Club (North Vancouver)
  • Alexa Brownlie (2005) Whistler Mountain Ski Club (Whistler)
  • Ella Kaufmann (2005) Whistler Mountain Ski Club (North Vancouver)

BC Men’s Training Group:

  • Sascha Gilbert (2004) Whistler Mountain Ski Club (Whistler)
  • Graeme Eder (2005) Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club (Coquitlam)
  • Dylan Stevens (2004) Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club (North Vancouver)
  • Oliver Young (2004) Vernon Ski Club/Okanagan Ski Team (Coldstream)

Coaching Staff:

  • Morgan Pridy, Men’s Head Coach
  • Montana Molyneux, Women’s Head Coach
  • Dustin Koepke, Men’s Coach

For more information:

Johnny Crichton
BC Alpine VP Athletics
johnny@bcalpine.com
(250) 371-7754 

Girls Fast Forward camp inspires nearly 60 female skiers from across BC

Girls Fast Forward camp inspires nearly 60 female skiers from across BC

When 58 female ski racers from all over the province descended on Sun Peaks last week, the energy and willingness to learn was at an all-time high.

The all-female coaching staff – along with special guest national team skiers Cassidy Gray and Sam Mulligan – packed in a high volume of on-snow training, guest presentations, video analysis, tech talks, and pretty much anything that could be crammed into three intense and rewarding days.

A total of 11 coaches, including club program directors and age coaches, BCST staff and the guest coaches, lead the athletes over the three days with on-snow work and off-hill instruction and presentations.

According to GFF lead coach Montana Molyneux (Coach Monty), some of the highlights included working alongside Cassidy Gray, who was part of the Canadian team that won gold in the world junior parallel race at Panorama earlier this season, as well as a 60 person synchro and human slalom.

“We started by going back to the basics on snow and slowing it down and working on their position over their ski over a high volume of runs,” said Coach Monty.  “And the Tech Talks and video with Cassidy were a big hit and as well recovery and visualization training with Rebekah Smiley (GFF coach and SPAC coach).”

The GFF camp was kicked off by a message from Erin Mielzynski, who recently retired from the World Cup, to set the tone for a productive and learning based camp.

GFF 2022 COACHING TEAM: Back row, from left: Sam Mulligan, Leslie Firstbrook, Katie Findlay, Montana Molyneux, Sam Fournier, Alice Muirhead, Marouska Smith, Rebekah Smiley. Front row: Cassidy Gray, Anja Matson, Kate Matson, Maia Matson, Daria Mezenina.

Setting up for the “human slalom”
8 BC skiers qualify for national ski team

8 BC skiers qualify for national ski team

Alpine Canada announced this week a roster of skiers who have qualified for the national ski team, including eight BC skiers.

After a breakthrough season for many of the BC alumnus – including Jack Crawford, who took home a bronze medal from the 2022 Beijing Olympic Games, and Cameron Alexander, who scored Canada’s only alpine World Cup win of the season – the teams will spend the spring and summer months training in Whistler and Calgary at Canadian Sport Institute training centres.

The BC men make up over 60 percent of the national team roster.

“BC is proud of all its athletes and coaches who are currently working with ACA as well as those on the pathway to make the National Team in the near future”,” said Johnny Crichton, BC Alpine VP.

See the full story from Alpine Canada.

Photo: Brodie Seger. Photo by John Evely @johnchrome

Canadian Alpine Ski Team

Female athletes:

  1. Ali Nullmeyer (Toronto, Ont./Georgian Peaks Ski Club)  
  2. Amelia Smart (Invermere, B.C./Panorama Ski Club)  
  3. Britt Richardson (Canmore, Alta/Calgary Alpine Racing Club) 
  4. Cassidy Gray (Panorama, B.C./Team Panorama Ski Club) 
  5. Laurence St-Germain (St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que./Club de ski Mont-Ste-Anne)  
  6. Marie-Michèle Gagnon (Lac-Etchemin, Que./Mont Orignal)  
  7. Valérie Grenier (Mont-Tremblant, Que./Club de ski Mont-Tremblant)  
  8. Sarah Bennett (Stoneham, Que/ Québec Ski Team)
  9. Kiki (Kiara) Alexander (Sunshine Village, Alta/ Alberta Ski Team)
  10. Arianne Forget (Belle Neige, Que/ S1 Racing)

 Women’s Team Head Coach: Karin Harjo

 Male athletes:

  1. Asher Jordan (North Vancouver, B.C./ Whistler Mountain Ski Club)  
  2. Broderick Thompson (Whistler, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  3. Brodie Seger (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)  
  4. Cameron Alexander (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)  
  5. Erik Read (Canmore, Alta./Banff Alpine Racers)  
  6. Jack (James) Crawford (Toronto, Ont./Georgian Peaks Ski Club & Whistler Mountain Ski Club)  
  7. Jeffrey Read (Canmore, Alta./Banff Alpine Racers)  
  8. Kyle Alexander (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  9. Liam Wallace (Calgary, Alta./Sunshine Alpine Racers) 
  10. Riley Seger (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)  
  11. Sam Mulligan (Vancouver, B.C. /Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club)  
  12. Trevor Philp (Calgary, Alta./Banff Alpine Racers)  
  13. Simon Fournier (Montreal, Que./Club de ski Mont-Tremblant)

Men’s Team Head Coach: Mark Tilston    

Whistler is producing champion ski racers at a rapid pace. What’s the secret?

Whistler is producing champion ski racers at a rapid pace. What’s the secret?

When Jack Crawford battled for a hard-fought bronze medal in the men’s combined in Beijing last week, he kept Canadians and ski racing fans glued to their devices, including his legion of friends and followers at the Whistler Mountain Ski Club. 

And before you know it, Crawford, along with his Olympic teammates and fellow Whistler alum Broderick Thompson and Brodie Seger, were right back where it started … in Whistler presenting medals to aspiring ski racing stars at the Janyk Cup.

“It was so magical,” said Mike Janyk, the clubs executive director and former World Cup skier. “To have them right back here connected to the grassroots right after they were on TV was so spectacular.”

Janyk explained that it’s rare for athletes to reconnect with their clubs so soon after a major event like the Olympics. “We saw it in the faces of the kids, the parents and the coaches,” he said. “That energy is so cool to share with everyone, I’m almost speechless about how amazing it was.”

The Whistler club had four skiers representing Canada at the Olympics, including the entire men’s downhill team. Jack Crawford’s bronze was the first Olympic medal for the Canadian alpine team since Jan Hudec’s bronze in Sochi 2014 . Earlier in the week Crawford – who came to Whistler as a teenager from Toronto and the Georgian Peaks Ski Club – finished fourth in the men’s downhill and sixth in super-G, agonizingly close to the podium in both races. 

Seger blazed to the third fastest time in the super G portion of the combined and eventually finished ninth after the slalom event. Broderick Thompson finished eighth in both the downhill and combined, capping a solid week for the Canadian men’s speed team.

On Thursday, Whistler’s Marielle Thompson executed a come-from-behind silver medal in the women’s ski cross in Beijing, adding to her massive collection of international hardware. It is the second Olympic medal of the 29-year-old’s career after winning gold in the event at Sochi in 2014. Thompson, sister to Broderick, is considered one of the best skiers to ever compete in ski cross, collecting 50 World Cup medals, two world championship medals and three overall World Cup crystal globes.

Winning at all levels

Now as a spectator, Janyk soaked in the Olympics.

“In one way it’s nice to not have to feel the pressure directly knowing what it’s like to have to perform,” Janyk said. “It was really exciting and I was super stoked … and also feeling for them at times but they really got us on our feet.”

A former slalom specialist, Janyk was impressed with the competition level of the slalom in the combined. “For Jack to put down that run was incredible, I actually thought he was going to beat Kilde … It’s fun to see someone so connected to the snow like he was. He was on, making it look effortless and every time he came out of the start he looked like one of the best in the world, which he clearly is now.”

Meanwhile on the NorAm tour, Whistler alumna Stefanie Fleckenstein sits in second overall in the NorAm standings with 10 podium finishes in 13 starts in NorAms races this season. Fleckenstein, who currently races with the International Ski Racing Academy, has been focused on the World Cup speed tour as well to gain valuable experience, learn the race tracks and regain a spot on the Canadian national team.

Another Whistler racer Cameron Alexander scorched a recent Europa Cup series in Kvitfjell, Norway, winning a downhill and finishing second the next day, followed by a second and fifth place in the super G races. He’s currently in fifth place in the overall Europa Cup downhill standings.

Cameron’s younger brother Kyle, has collected nine NorAm top fives this season, including four wins and currently sits second in the overall Nor Am standings. And Brodie Seger’s brother Riley, splitting his time between the University of Denver and the Canadian national team, has collected six NorAm top fives and three podiums on the NCAA tour this season. 

Asher Jordan, a slalom skier out of Whistler, has collected five NorAm podiums this season and sits in second overall in the NorAm slalom standings, in addition to World Cup starts in Adelboden, Kitzbuhel and Schladming.

You get the point.

Whistler’s secret sauce?

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club has a rich history dating back to the 1970s and have had a steady flow of ski racers reaching the provincial and national teams ever since. Starting with Dave Murray in the 1970s, to Rob Boyd in the 1980s, Allison Forsyth and Britt Janyk in the 1990s, Mike Janyk, Manny Osborne-Paradis, Morgan and Conrad Pridy and in the 2000s, to today with seven skiers on the Canadian national team and three on the BC provincial team. 

In the Whistler Mountain Ski Club cabin, a “wall of fame” is proudly featured, with current and former national team members. The wall is large.

“There’s a deeply embedded culture in this community around ski racing,” Janyk explained. 

Janyk believes one of the key drivers of this culture stems from the willingness of the Whistler community to take on massive events, like World Cups, the Olympics in 2010 and calendar mainstays like the Whistler Cup. He believes these events propel the club and inspire the youth.

“I was on my Dad’s shoulders when Rob Boyd won,” he said, referring to Boyd’s historic men’s downhill win in 1989 to become the first Canadian male racer to win a World Cup downhill in his home country. “And then I got my first signature by Kristian Ghedina in the 1990s at the World Cup here, then later as first year FIS racer I foreran the World Cup.”

“In 2010 at the Olympics in Whistler, how old were Cam and Kyle, Brodie, Riley and Asher? They were that 10-year-old on their parents shoulders watching their heroes.

“Those events, which are an extension of the club and the community and the parents … the will of people who put on these unbelievable undertakings of volunteerism. Talk about community building.”

Janyk commented that beyond marquee events and volunteerism, creative coaches within the club (current and past) have been a major driver of a winning culture which continues to inspire the next generation.

“When I came through the club we had a strong group of kids together and an equally strong group of coaches and we were all ready to push,” he said. “I don’t know how exactly it started and it was probably an organic growth of culture which came from creative coaches and volunteers ready to raise the bar.”

Whistler, the ‘Norway’ of North America?

When the Winter Olympics wrapped up on the weekend, Norway stood at the top of the standings, outpacing much larger countries like the U.S., Russia and Canada – despite having a significantly smaller population – you can’t help but think, how do they do it?

And more to the point of this article, is the Whistler Mountain Ski Club the “Norwegians” of ski racing in North America?

The Norwegian sports culture is proving to be unmatched yet simple, at least at present. They have created a pipeline of skiing stars that recharges and replenishes at an exceptional rate. They are so dominant in cross country and biathlon that some countries have conceded gold, opting for a strategy focussed on targeting silver and bronze.

The Norge’s collected three alpine medals in alpine, compared to one each for the U.S. and Canadian alpine teams – Ryan Cochran Siegle, men’s super G silver and Jack Crawford men’s combined bronze (although Alpine Canada would claim Marielle Thompson’s silver in the women’s ski cross to make it two).

Of further interest, 99 Norwegians competed in Beijing, compared to 223 for the Americans and 215 for the Canadians.

The Beijing Olympics came to a close last weekend, setting the stage for the Paralympics beginning in early March, where the Whistler Mountain Ski Club shifts its attention to another world star; Mollie Jepsen, who was a breakout star at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympics, winning a gold, silver and two bronze medals at her first Games as an 18-year-old.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club trophy case continues to grow.

– This article originally appeared on skiracing.com

Perhaps Rome was built in a day: Vernon Ski Club steps up and delivers “terrific” race series

Perhaps Rome was built in a day: Vernon Ski Club steps up and delivers “terrific” race series

If they come, will you build it? For Rob Tupper, a long time ski racing “chief” with the Vernon Ski Club at Silver Star, this was the proposition presented to him a mere three weeks before a scheduled BC Alpine Teck Open race series.

The Vernon Ski Club (VSC) started the season with excitement around hosting three big events – the BC Winter Games, the Over the Hill Downhill and BC Alpine speed camp, but when all three were cancelled they were suddenly a crew without a boat. 

But circumstance changed quickly and soon BC Alpine came knocking, asking the club to fill in for a suddenly cancelled Teck Open Series when a devastating fire at the Kimberley Resort burned down the lift control building of the North Star Express lift. 

“We went from having three events to having zero … and then the Kimberley lift burned down creating a big gaping hole in the schedule for reasons beyond anyone’s control,” explained Tupper, also an alumnus of Mount Seymour Ski Club and Vancouver Ski Team.

So with three weeks to go Tupper, along with VSC president Lauren Carr and past president Murray Smith, put into action an aggressive plan to build a massive event team in short order. The first order of business, said Tupper, was to rally the troops. 

“Lauren and Murray reached out and found the leads and then we started to build the crews,” said Tupper, who’s also working towards a National TD assignment. “We hadn’t hosted a race in over two years and had to dust things off and find all the equipment and get things ready.”

The Race Notice was posted and before you know it 140 racers (90 girls, 60 boys) were registered and it was “go time”. 

Along with the leadership of Roger Poole, Program Director of VSC, things moved quickly with systems and physical set ups required to pull off a provincial ski race series. Tupper also included the assigned Technical Delegate (Russell Kirby) as early as possible in the event planning and race details.

BC Alpine added a layer of support to the club when Keven Dubinsky, club services manager, joined the team to help train volunteers in race administration and timing systems set up. And of course the VSC club pulled in all the local ski racing “veterans” to help not only do the heavy lifting but to also train the new families in the club.

With a dedicated race centre at Silver Star – a run which is permanently closed to the public – next came preparing the slope and dealing with everything that Mother Nature threw at them. “Of course the first day is when it snowed the most but the conditions improved throughout the  series and then finished on a high with sun and great conditions.”

Another pleasant surprise was the volume of parents from around the province who added volunteer support. “I think there was a lot of pent up demand for people to travel with the teams,” Tupper said, noting that he believes the resort was sold out of accommodations and restaurants were filled, due to the influx of families for the event. Tupper also mentioned that many of his old ski racing compatriots from the 1980s were at this series with their children.

“For me that was one of the most rewarding parts of the race, getting reacquainted with all these people that I used to race with a long time ago,” Tupper said. “And man, the quality of the skiing from the kids was amazing. There wasn’t any racing last year but clearly there was a lot of training as the kids came in here at a really high level.”

“Our objective going into it was for a safe and fair race, even if it wasn’t perfect,” Tupper said. “We can strive for perfection but we will get what we get.”

From all accounts, perfection was nearly achieved.

Full results from the Teck Open Series, hosted by the Vernon Ski Club

Photos supplied by Kiss the Monkey photography. Full click HERE to see all images.

“Ski racing is more popular than ever”

“Ski racing is more popular than ever”

BC Alpine reaches record numbers

If you build it, they will come.

The iconic line from Field of Dreams is a baseball reference but it could also hold true for BC Alpine and its 35 member clubs. Challenged with many obstacles over the past two seasons, including no racing due to provincial travel-related restrictions, the clubs have persevered.

Not only that, they’ve thrived. And today BC Alpine announced in a press release that it has reached its highest-ever membership registration, further validating all that hard work. Ski racing has begun in all corners of the province after a near two year absence.

The new record of registered members – athletes, coaches and officials – reached 6,451, topping its previous high of 6,250 set in pre-covid times in 2019. BC Alpine did not have any events between 2020 to 2021 due to Covid travel and other restrictions.

The feel-good stories and positive messages have been pouring in from across the province.

“From the volunteers to the coaches and especially the athletes – the positive energy was incredible,” said Christine Andison, of the Red Mountain Racers (Rossland) after hosting a Teck Open race series last weekend. “The skiers were so happy to be competing again and seeing friends they haven’t seen for almost two years, it was a very special weekend to say the least!”

The positive vibes didn’t end with just the young ski racers. “In all my years of volunteering I have never heard so many athletes saying thank you to the volunteers … everyone was very grateful to be together again on the course,” said Andison, who also serves as the Director of Planning and Development for Red Mountain.

Along with its 35 member clubs in four zones (Okanagan, North, Coast, Kootenays) the BC Alpine ski racing scene is not only alive, but flourishing. 

“It appears that ski racing is more popular than ever,” said Anders Hestdalen, the CEO of BC Alpine. “I’m very proud of our ski clubs and event organizers for hosting safe and smart races. We have worked closely with our volunteers to ensure that we have put all the systems in place to ensure that we keep everyone’s health and safety as the top priority.”

With ski races happening from U10 up to U21 and Masters at ski resorts large and small across BC, such as at Troll Ski Resort near Quesnel, the excitement level is high. The Lightning Creek Ski Club hosted a “Welcome Back to Racing” weekend for the North zone clubs including a two-run combined race, as well as a two-run night slalom .

“The weather cooperated, the volunteers were amazing and the kids were smiling,” said Michelle Klapatiuk, of the race organizing team at Troll. “We raced giant slalom under the sun and then managed to pull off our first-ever night slalom under the new lights.”

Meanwhile, at Whistler-Blackcomb, the first Coast zone U16 races took place under sunny skies “on a near-perfect, hard-packed Ptarmigan run” on the Dave Murray National Training Centre, where skiers from Grouse, Cypress, Seymour, Whistler, Sasquatch, and Mt. Washington attended. Whistler again hosted the Coast zone clubs again the next weekend for a series of U14 races which featured 120 young ski racers.

The Sun Peaks Alpine Club, meanwhile, hosted the season opening Teck races for U12, U14 and U16 skiers on the Nancy Greene International Race Centre last weekend.

GRAPHIC: Registrations by year

About BC Alpine Ski Association

VISION: To inspire skiers for life and develop world-class athletes. MISSION: To lead and govern the sport of Alpine Ski Racing in BC, to provide leadership and structure for our clubs to deliver high quality, sustainable and affordable programming and to communicate the competitive, recreational and lifestyle benefits of ski racing to the community.