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VST's February and March Recap 2024

By Annabel Li, VST, 04/02/24, 9:45PM PDT


This past month, VST captured some podium finishes, tackled difficult weather, and hit the road for Nationals to make the most of the peak of the season.

At the end of February, VST had their first coastal race of the season: Parsons at Whistler. Joining a field of less than 70 athletes, they raced down Ptarmigan through the West Coast’s signature wintry mix. Unfortunately, the adverse conditions meant that the namesake speed event could not run - but the 4 days still allowed for 2GS and 2SL races, with Noah Fischer bringing home a gold and a bronze medal in addition to cool new swag in the form of a ski backpack and poles. Congratulations!

Racing at home also brought a pleasant surprise as some of last year’s VST alumni showed up to cheer them on; it was fun and welcoming to reconnect with familiar faces on the slopes.

After Parsons, the team headed to Norquay and Nakiska for the Alberta Cup. The skiing here was a chilling contrast to Whistler; the team faced one of the season’s rare cold snaps with temperatures that dipped twenty below and a slope that bore an uncanny resemblance to a skating rink. However, the trip was still massively productive; there was the option to get in extra training rather than race, but even within the event, the team posted some solid scores – especially in the SG.

The team returned home for a week before the arrival of Spring Break sent them travelling across the province to Red Mountain for the Teck Canadian National Championships and Spring Series.

Nationals, in particular, was exciting; the team joined the ranks of elite athletes from all over the world – including Australia, Sweden, and the US - and even our very own National Team members like Cassidy Gray and Sarah Bennett.

The athletes were welcomed by the Rossland’s tight-knit community with an opening day parade through the town center.

The athletes were welcomed by the Rossland’s tight-knit community with an opening day parade through the town center.

However, the eight days were not without difficulties. Despite the efforts of volunteers and coaches, the combination of warm temperatures, dry snow, and bad luck cancelled the men’s and women’s races on the first day. As Mother Nature continued to prove a challenge, the typical, women-and-men-alternating plan was replaced with a new schedule that called for one gender to fully run before the other to streamline course maintenance efforts. What followed was a week full of variability and uncertainty, (and hundreds of bags of salt,) but VST adapted in kind, switching seamlessly between pre-dawn alarms and mid-morning sleep-ins, and bringing their best to the hill, whether for a 7am inspection or a 4pm second run.

Unfortunately, as the surface continued to soften, two more days were cancelled. However, with the final day of Spring Series seeing lower temperatures and clear skies, coaches and volunteers came together to run one last race. The planned GS was traded for a SL with a wide, open set, allowing racers to get in one final chance to charge down Red’s slopes before the eight days officially drew to a close. There was also the option to add 2 SG races at Kimberley after, which half of the team chose to do.

Despite the disappointing turn of events, the team made the best of the three surprise “off days” to take advantage of Red’s powder runs, explore their home base of Trail, and go head-to-head with the Kootenay Zone Team in bowling. They also celebrated their last trip together as a full team with a VST-themed Kahoot night, thanks to Malcolm.

Overall, VST is extremely grateful to Red Mountain, the volunteers, and the coaches for making as much of the event happen as possible. The conditions were beyond challenging, and their hard work and determination were deeply appreciated.

The view from the GS course

The view from the GS course

With the cancellation of Sun Peak’s Mega Cup, VST will head to Nakiska for their last event of the season, the Alberta Spring Series. Also, currently, Thomas Hung is in Panorama for the Nor- Am Finals. Best of luck!