Red Mountain Racers finish season strong

As dryland training approaches for the Red Mountain Racers next month, the skiers looked back on a great season, one that has even now generated some end-of-season successes such as Soleil Patterson’s big bronze in Whistler earlier this month and Hansi Schwaiger’s invitation to join the German development team.

As dryland training approaches for the Red Mountain Racers next month, the skiers looked back on a great season, one that has even now generated some end-of-season successes such as Soleil Patterson’s big bronze in Whistler earlier this month and Hansi Schwaiger’s invitation to join the German development team.

Patterson’s bronze put Canada on the podium just behind a Slovakian skier with silver and a Japanese skier with gold.

“We had a great FIS race at home — people are still talking about it,” said Phil Patterson, head coach of the Red Mountain Racers. “It was great to have Soleil on the front page of a provincial event. Ian Fry, now 14 years old, did very well in his first year at the K2 level, finishing top 15 in provincials in slalom. Our FIS [age group] is in a rebuilding stage for next year. We’ve had successes in each age group this year.”

Somewhat wistfully he added, “The snow is amazing, it’s too bad we can’t be up there right now training.”

Sixteen-year-old FIS ski racer Hansi Schwaiger, having trained and competed with the Red Mountain Racers as a student in the RSS Red Academies since September and achieved consistent success throughout the season, has been invited to work with the German development team when he returns to Germany at the end of this school year.

“Hansi impressed coaches and skiers at each of the events attended this year, often ending up on the podium,” said Patterson. “He made heads turn here,” adding with a laugh that our local wildlife made Schwaiger’s head turn too, from mountain sheep to bears.

Schwaiger said he has enjoyed his season at Red and his year at RSS, but was excited by the opportunity to further develop his skills with the development team when he returns to Germany.

In the younger age groups, Red Mountain Racers also performed well at the Whistler Cup earlier this month, an international race event for athletes aged 11 to 14.

A highlight was the third place finish for 12-year-old Soleil Patterson in the slalom. “I am not aware of any Red Mountain Racer podiums at the Whistler Cup, now in its 18th year,” said the coach. “Soleil also finished in a respectable ninth in kombi [a combination of GS and slalom gates] and 13th in GS,” he said.

This follows up her solid performance at the BC Provincial event at Mount Washington in March where she earned silver in slalom, two fourth-place finishes in GS, and a fourth in the kombi.

Rowen Stevens, a 12-year-old Rosslander, also skied very well at the Whistler Cup, vastly improving on his start position of 50th in each discipline, finishing 31st in kombi, 32nd in slalom, and 38th in GS.

“The Red mountain Racers are preparing for another good season with dryland training starting up next month after our year-end barbecue,” Phil Patterson said.

He also urged people to participate in the Spring Sports Swap on April 30 at the the fieldhouse at J.L. Crowe in Trail to help raise funds for the team to help educate coaches, send kids on trips, and as they continue to re-establish their racing infrastructure after the upheaval of Red Mountain’s day lodge renovations.