SWARMS OF TEENAGERS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD WILL BE CONGREGATING IN PARTY TOWN – AKA WHISTLER – THIS WEEK.
Yes it does. But these teenagers are not your typical party goers and shoot disturbers, in fact, they’re laser-focussed athletes with an eye on a shiny trophy … called the Whistler Cup.
Now 25 years in, this mega youth event which brings in as many as 400 young skiers from 20 countries – including Norway, Switzerland and the great US of A after a six-year hiatus – the Whistler Cup is the end-all-be-all event for young, developing ski racers.
It’s not the pinnacle of the sport by any stretch but dreams are made here. It comes at the ideal time in athletic development when athletic exposure and benchmarking merge to give future World Cup racers a glimpse of their future.
Do they need to win, or medal, to make it to the next level of the sport? No, absolutely not. But this exposure to the world’s best comes at a formative time.
Some big names have carved their way down Raven/Ptarmigan and Upper Dave Murray over the years, such as Americans Lindsey Vonn, Julia Mancuso and Mikaela Shiffrin, as well as Slovenia’s Tina Maze, Italy’s Christof Innerhofer and Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, Nicole Hosp, Anna Fenninger and Mathias Meier.
Go ahead and google those names. Or better yet, compile a list of how many World Cup medals (if only I had more time I’d do it!) that group represents.
Then there are the Canadian skiers that have competed on this stage, such as Erik Guay, Marielle Thompson, Britt and Michael Janyk, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Kelsey Serwa, Jan Hudec, Robbie Dixon … to name a few.
“This race gives kids a chance to see the diverse competition that exists in Europe and other countries,” explained World Cup veteran Osborne-Paradis. “Many have used this experience to help them move to the next level and have gone on to compete on the World Cup.”
Mike Janyk, who said that the event “opened my eyes to the grander scope of what ski racing is” also notes that the Whistler Cup is for more than just the athletes and that the coaches; as parents and organizers embark on a journey that effects them all.
The inaugural Whistler Cup was held in 1993 and is the brainchild of Max Meier, parent of a young racer at the time. Meier and co-founders Joze Sparovec and Jim Yeates were inspired by the international juvenile race Trofeo Topolino, in Italy.
The Whistler event brings together a massive group of supporters, sponsors, hosts, organizers and volunteers. Just come to the Opening Ceremonies and parade this Friday and you’ll see … this is not your ordinary ski race.
“We wish all the athletes from around the world success and thank our partners at Whistler Cup for putting on this superb event. “From the starting gates to the podium, Whistler Cup is about developing quality athletes and giving them the confidence needed to rise to the top,” said Barry McInerney, President and Chief Executive Officer of Mackenzie Investments. “Mackenzie Investments is proud to once again support Whistler Cup and to be a part of nurturing young ski athletes as they compete on the world stage.”
PURCHASE 2017 EVENT PHOTOS HERE
– By Gordie Bowles. Photos supplied by Coast Mountain Photography