This year’s Sportchek Canadian Alpine National Championships will take place on our home turf. The newly christened Dave Murray National Training Centre on Whistler Mountain will be the grounds of fierce competition for potential future Olympians along with present day big name, Canadian National team members and Olympians. Canadian Cowboys and gals, Mike Janyk, Manny Osborne-Paradis, Marie-Michele Gagnon and Erin Mielzynski to name a few, will be setting the track and competing for the hardware among the rest of Canada’s best on March 21-27.
It seems fitting that the last alpine race I had was in 2007 on my Dad’s run for the National Championships here in Whistler. The National Championships was always the most exciting event in my mind. As one of the last races of the year, with National team members in attendance, the ski club members are out there to give it their all in hopes of lowering their FIS points for the next season. The après-race parties were always the best of the year because win or lose, everyone was in the mindset to celebrate the past season of racing. Some of the best friends in my life have been made from my ski racing days. On the hill we were competitors, but off the hill, true buds.
As my good friend Shannon Smith says, ‘shades, sun and slush… I can’t think of a better way to bring the season to an end!’ Let’s hope we get that spring weather for this year’s champs!
If you can, try to make it out to cheer on our Canadians on the slopes. With the new training centre, I promise there will be great entertainment and impressive racing in all events including slalom, giant slalom, Super G and Downhill. This will also be the first big event held at the new Dave Murray National Training centre. The training centre is the epitome of what my Dad had in mind for the development of racers. It gives me a great feeling that his legacy is living on in so many ways in Whistler.
3-time Olympic downhill racer and the now Development Manager for the WMSC, Rob Boyd shares the excitement. He says, ‘I’m excited about the first time a downhill has been run on the DMNTC. In fact we’re sending testers today to see how it goes… And mostly excited to be hosting the National Champs on the training center – a stepping stone towards seeing something bigger’. Some World Cup races in the near future I presume?…
The Canadians are completely run with volunteer labour, and the ‘Weasel Workers’ are always looking for new people to come help out, even if it’s just for a couple of days. So if you feel up to it, get out there to help the future Olympians and finish the day off with a rewarding brew at the daily refreshment tent! Even if you don’t volunteer, get out there to re-live the feelings we all experienced during the Olympics and cheer on our Canadian athletes!
Go here to volunteer: http://www.alpinecanada.org/forms/volunteer
Not sure where to watch from? Head to these hotspots:
-Finish corrall – easiest to access & watch the entire bottom pitch & exciting finish line with access from Upper Olympic Run
-Summer Road – access off Upper Olympic, but this isn’t for beginners as it is quite narrow
-Raven Pitch- access via Whistler Village Gondola lift line off Upper Whiskey Jack. This gives you the view of the start of the downhill and the big left turn.
-Seppo’s Run as it enters Ptarmigan – this is only for the very brave with sharp edges, but a killer view!
Thursday, March 21 – Men’s and ladies’ downhill training
Friday, March 22 – Men’s and ladies’ downhill training
Saturday, March 23 – Men’s downhill
Sunday, March 24 – Ladies’ downhill
Monday, March 25 – Men’s and ladies’ super-G
Tuesday, March 26 – Men’s giant slalom, ladies’ slalom
Wednesday, March 27 – Men’s slalom, ladies’ giant slalom