Red Mountain Racers Kristof Panke (fifth from left) and Heiko Ihns (ninth from left) are among the skiers who will represent BC at the U16 National Championships.

Two Red Mountain Racers off to U16 Nationals

Two Red Mountain Racers are headed to the U16 National Championships after qualifying at the second round of the Teck Open Series last week.

Two Red Mountain Racers are headed to the U16 National Championships after qualifying at the second round of the Teck Open Series last week.

Heiko Ihns and Kristof Panke will be headed to Thunder Bay, Ont. for the U16 Canadian National Alpine Ski Championships 2017, taking place from Feb. 20 to 25 at the Loch Lomond ski area.

“We’re pretty excited that the boys both Heiko and Kristof qualified to go to nationals,” said Christine Andison, former president and board director for Red Mountain Racers. “Especially being that they are first year U16 racers and it’s not as usual for first year athletes to qualify because they’re up against athletes who’ve been racing at that level for a year already.”

Ihns placed second in men’s giant slalom on Sunday and fourth in men’s slalom on Saturday, and Panke finished second in men’s giant slalom on Friday, despite injuring himself during his second run.

“He clipped a gate with his arm just before the finish and he actually collapsed in the finish line. They thought his shoulder had been dislocated, but thankfully it wasn’t,” said Andison.

Luckily Panke is all right and will still be able to go to nationals.

For the ladies, Jane Andison also did well during the event. She placed third in women’s slalom on Friday and fourth in the same event on Thursday.

The Red Mountain Racers also had the distinction of having two of their racers win for most improved having made the most progress over the four-day event. September Stefani won most improved racer in giant slalom and Ben Willis was most improved in both slalom and giant slalom.

“Ben is from New Zealand, he’s training with the Red Mountain Academy and Red Mountain Racers, so he doesn’t have any Alpine Canada points, which means he starts at the bottom of the start list, and he was the racer who consistently over the weekend moved from the bottom up close to the top,” explained Christine Andison.

The U16 Teck Open Series is open to U16 athletes, as well as older athletes. Andison said they had three masters participate in last week’s event, which was the second round in a series of three.

Over 130 athletes participated in round two, and each had the opportunity to participate in four two-run events. After the third round of the series at the end of March, racers will find out how they placed overall and the overall provincial champion will be named.

It was a lot of work for the Red Mountain Racer and volunteers to put on the event.

“The Red Mountain Racers could not be more grateful to the community and all the volunteers that come out and help to put on these races. Without them, we couldn’t do it,” said Andison.

Volunteers ranged in age from 20 to 86, and at some points there were three generations of racers on the course. “Which is pretty exceptional,” said Andison.

RESULTS

Women’s two-run slalom, Thursday, Feb. 2

First: Maja Woolley of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Second: Charlize Street of Fernie Alpine Ski Team

Third: Charlie Gougeon Comeau of NATAC

Men’s two-run giant slalom, Thursday, Feb. 2

First: Nathan Romanin of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Second: Kieran Harley of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Third: Isaac Athans of Apex Ski Club

Women’s two-run slalom, Friday

First: Charlize Street of Fernie Alpine Ski Team

Second: Charlie Gougeon Comeau

Third: Jane Andison of Red Mountain Racers

Men’s two-run giant slalom, Friday

First: Gerrit Van Soest of Vernon Ski Club

Second: Kristof Panke of Red Mountain Racers

Third: Isaac Athans of Apex Ski Club

Women’s two-run giant slalom, Saturday

First: Gigi Kranjc of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Second: Julia Ross of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Third: Charlize Street of Fernie Alpine Ski Team

Men’s two-run slalom, Saturday

First: Gerrit Van Soest of Vernon Ski Club

Second: Nathan Romanin of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Third: Caele Kassa of Vernon Ski Club

Women’s two-run giant slalom, Sunday

First: Charlie Gougeon Comeau of NATAC

Second: Gigi Kranjc of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Third: Julia Ross of Whistler Mountian Ski Club

Men’s two-run slalom, Sunday

First: Nathan Romanin of Whistler Mountain Ski Club

Second: Heiko Ihns of Red Mountain Racers

Third: Samuel Tafel of Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club