KAT athletes compete at the 22nd Whistler Cup
The Whistler Cup has grown to become the largest and most important ski race in North America for athletes aged 11 to 15 years.
With over 400 young athletes from 27 countries, the Whistler Cup brings athletes, coaches and volunteers together from different cultures with an Olympic type experience. Friends are made through banquets, 7 a.m. breakfasts at the top of the mountain, live music and a parade where Olympic athletes and Whistler Cup athletes proudly represent their country.
The Kimberley Alpine Team (KAT) was represented by Emma Damm, Ethan Blair, and Jamie Casselman (representing Team BC) in the U14 category. Selected to attend in the U16 category was Zoe Chore.
Nerves run high as coaches in different languages call to their athletes. Snow is tested for temperature so the perfect wax is used. The racecourse is lined with fans.
Kootenay athletes posted well despite the conditions through the weekend that created challenges at times on soft, slushy snow.
In the U16 category, starting 61st, the fifth British Columbian out of the gate, Zoe Chore placed 31st in the super G and 42nd in giant slalom. Austria, Norway and Latvia took the top three places out of over 80 athletes.
In the U14 female category Emma Damm started 48th out of 109 athletes and placed 31st in the giant slalom and 20th in the first round of dual slalom. The top racers were from Japan, Whistler and Australia.
In the U14 male slalom category Ethan Blair placed 32nd and Jamie Casselman received the bronze medal.
Over 100 athletes competed and only 67 completed the race. Ethan Blair posted 58th in giant slalom. Jamie Casselman came in fourth, just off the podium. Jamie also placed ninth in the second round of the dual slalom and Ethan placed 40th in the first round of dual slalom. In addition to Jamie, the top place finishers were from Japan, Quebec and Ontario.
Jamie Casselman earned top honours for the weekend by placing the second Canadian overall for his performance on the weekend.
“I thought the dual slalom was a cool idea–it was especially fun riding backup to the start behind the snowmobiles! I was a bit nervous before my first run of the slalom race because of the high level of competition and I really hoped to do well this year,” Jamie commented, adding, “I got seventh in my first run and was afraid the podium was out of reach. I was more comfortable before my second run so I skied more aggressively with the second fastest afternoon run and ended up on the podium in third. This was my third Whistler Cup and I have had a lot of good experiences.
“I always look forward to the breakfasts at the Roundhouse even though I have to wake up really early.”
All the athletes echoed the same sentiment: “Thanks to our coach, Jon and a big thank you to all the volunteers who make this event happen for us kids.”
Coach Jon Blair commented on KAT’s performance: “These young athletes have had very successful seasons both regionally and provincially. Zoe Chore and Jamie Casselman will finish off their season by attending a BC Alpine Talent ID camp in Whistler April 16-20.”
Parents were equally proud of their coach and athletes. It is quite something, commented one of the parents when a Whistler coach tells you that the Kimberley Alpine Team has an excellent coach.
Kimberley Alpine Team has been in operation since 1987. The club provides fall and winter programs for developing the love of skiing in children from the ages 4 to 19 with operations based at the Kimberley Alpine Ski Resort. For more information go to www.KimberleyAlpineTeam.ca
Kimberley Alpine Team