Photos: Jean-Yves Gauthier
Le Relais, Quebec
From March 9 to March 12 the best junior mogul skiers in Canada met in Le Relais, Quebec for the 2017 Junior National Championships.
9 skiers from the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club represented Whistler at the event, having earned enough points throughout the season to receive spots in the event. Unfortunately, mother nature stepped in and added fierce winds and biting cold to the event, with temperatures between –25 and –34 celsius with wind chill on the two days of competition. This ensured that the relatively short course was firm and icy from top to bottom – something the Whistler athletes needed to work hard to adjust to.
Fortunately, with support from coach Jeff Fairbairn, the athletes stepped up to the cold icy conditions and did the Club proud.
In single moguls, top performers were Maya Mikkelsen in the F14 category in 4th place, with Cassidy Butterworth and Lynnette Conn right behind in 6th and 8th place respectively. In the F16 category, Jessica Linton finished 6th in a strong field with friend and teammate Raine Haziza in 7th. Ava Dunham decided to auger her shoulder and head into an icy mogul in training and was forced to sit the event out. 6th and 8th place proved to be popular positions for the Club, with Phillip Kang and Oscar VanDongen taking those spots in the M14 category. Owen Turnaway was our lone representative in the highly competitive M18 category, and walked away in 18th position.
Dual Moguls day arrived with cold temperatures and bitter winds. The local athletes were able to shine in these conditions with strong knowledge of their home course and comfort in extremely icy conditions. However, Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Club athletes stepped up and represented the Club and the province well. Again, in F14, Maya Mikkelsen led the crew with a 4th place finish, missing the podium by 0.2 points. Cassidy again fought some strong duals to land a solid 6th. Jessica Linton and Raine Haziza both bowed out in the round of 8, finishing, as they did in the singles in 6th and 7th respectively. In the M14 category, club newcomer, Oscar VanDongen stepped up to the challenge and made it to the semi-finals, finishing 4th place. Phillip Kang just missed the round of 8, losing a close dual to finish 9th. Owen Turnaway made it a weekend of 18’s, also finishing in 18th in the duals and celebrating his 18th birthday with his teammates on Saturday night.
The Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Club would like to thank the organizers of the 2017 Junior Nationals at Club de Ski Le Relais for an amazing event and exceptional organization. The event was like no other with former National Team skiers and former World Cup and Olympic Champions on hand to cheer the kids on – Jean-Luc Brassard, Nicolas Fontaine, and Philippe LaRoche were only a few of the past stars on hand to support the next generation.