The team at SG training
The first of the two events was a five-day event at Whistler that included a speed camp, the annual Parsons Super-G race, and the BC Cup.
The week kicked off with a strong start as the team rolled in late for training after the VST Van broke down on the side of the highway. However, athletes were still able to familiarize themselves with the Super-G track in preparation for Parsons, which saw them running all the way from the top of the Garbanzo chair to the bottom of Ptarmigan, fighting through the wind chill and their burning legs the whole way.
After the Parson’s Super-G, athletes transitioned to BC Cup’s SL and GS events. The sets on both days were physically demanding; the courses were longer than anything the team had skied before, but that didn’t stop them from tackling the slopes and the plunging temperatures with good morale and energy. Team member Thomas Hung also brought home some hardware on the SL day, capturing the silver medal. Congratulations!
During the week, athletes also had the opportunity to stay at Tyrol Lodge. Nestled above Nita Lake, it had a traditional wood cabin charm that was both cozy, welcoming, and freshly different from the usual accommodations at Athlete’s village.
The team at Tyrol
The view from the path to Tyrol
There was much that made the athletes’ stay enjoyable. For one, the lodge had a bright and open communal space, making it easy for athletes to do homework together. As well, many had fun sledding down the snow-covered path from the parking lot every day, though the morning hike up, which was done with two pairs of skis in tow, was not exactly a piece of cake.
But what made their stay there absolutely incredible was John Hung and Caroline Benedict’s cooking; their hard work and preparation were very much appreciated. Over the course of four nights, the juicy pork tacos, chicken paprikash, and flavourful curries always proved to be the highlight of every athlete’s day. As well, they always made sure to have fresh snacks, whether it be warm baguettes, fresh fruit, or lemon loaves prepared for the athletes when they returned from the hill. In addition, Monique (Erica Zander’s mom)’s delectable macaroons, banana breads and ginger mounds were constantly in hot demand and kept the team going, on hill and off.
VST would like to give a humongous thank you to all three of them, and to all the race volunteers who worked tirelessly through the extreme cold to make the event happen.
The view from the top of Mission Ridge
This next event saw VST going international and teaming up with Whistler FIS for yet another fun week on snow. Two days following the close of BC Cup, the two teams ventured across the border for GS and SG events at Mission Ridge, a gently sloping hill that overlooked the rolling landscape and ice-blue river of Wenatchee, WA.
Over the next four days, the team discovered some amazing free skiing, on the groomers and off, got in more solid racing, and even, most impressively, convinced Titouan to share aux. As well, Brooke Irish won the silver in ladies’ SG, garnering the second VST podium appearance of the season. Congrats!
Yet the trip wasn’t without its challenges. A controversial call regarding an excess of soft snow postponed the ladies’ second SG race, and on the last day, the thrashing winds and heavy fog cancelled both their GS races entirely. It was disappointing and unfortunate, but the team kept each other’s spirits high. As skiing is an outdoor sport, there can be much that falls out of an athlete’s control.
Currently, VST is at Kimberley for the Canadian Senior Nationals, which will be running from March 13th to 17th. Best of luck to all the racers!