Lindsey Vonn graces U16 ski race in Whistler

Lindsey Vonn graces race

Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) athletes acquitted themselves well at this year's Bob Parsons Memorial Cup from Feb. 20 to 23, none more so than overall champions Viveka Deck Stang and Yuki Tazawa. 

Stang prevailed among women with an excellent all-around showing, including gold and bronze in the two giant slalom events. She also notched two slalom bronze medals. 

Tazawa won the first men's GS contest and earned silver at the second en route to his overall title. He managed sixth in slalom. 

Other local podium finishers include Thea Torn with three medals (GS gold, two slalom silvers), Hannah Jensen with two (both GS silvers), Joseph Gibbons with two (silver and bronze in slalom) and Daino Nakamura with one GS silver. 

"It has been a tough season for snow conditions and the FIS athletes continue to show their determination by swapping out the super-G race [due to] safety concerns and focusing on four consecutive days of technical racing," wrote parent volunteer Kirsti Blom in a press release. "The athletes pushed themselves to do their best and keep morale high despite DNFs and injuries.

"Everyone was grateful to the National Training Centre on Whistler and to Vail Resorts for turning Ptarmigan into a race-ready surface during such a challenging season." 

The Memorial Cup is named in honour of Bob Parsons, who served as Chief of Course for all of Whistler's major downhill races until his passing in 1979. 

'Present, friendly and generous'

The Teck BC Coast Zone circuit rolled into town from Feb. 23 to 25, immediately after the conclusion of the Memorial Cup...and it played host to an unexpected guest. 

WMSC U16 contender Liv Heyries spotted a certain seven-time World Championship medallist and three-time Olympic medallist out and about during her lunch break. That woman was none other than American alpine superstar Lindsey Vonn. 

"Ms. Vonn noticed Liv’s knee brace," said Blom. "The knee brace prompted a chat about returning to sport after an injury, whereupon Liv mentioned their U16 race. Ms. Vonn accepted the invitation to ski past the course and say hello to more U16 athletes at the bottom of the course.

"In short, Lindsey Vonn was present, friendly and generous with her time." 

Heyries clinched third place in GS, perhaps buoyed by her brush with greatness. Maggie Cormack became the most decorated of the local U16 girls with a three-medal effort (first in slalom, first and third in GS), while Elena Deda won a GS race and Annabel Gilman finished third in slalom.

The boys likewise showed out on home turf. Dreas Gibbons landed on three podiums of his own (gold and silver in GS, silver in slalom). Kingsley Parkhill emerged victorious once in slalom, while runner-up Dominic Reid and bronze medallist Gonzalo Martinez Sanchez helped Gibbons complete a GS podium sweep on the competition's final day. 

Full results from the Memorial Cup and the BC Coast Zone are available here and here.

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