With one event still remaining on the three-stop B.C. Alpine Teck Open Series, a pair of Sun Peaks Racers have already qualified for nationals.
Based on performances at Sun Peaks in January and Red Mountain in Rossland earlier this month, Josh Jacoby and Beckett Hooton will travel to Thunder Bay, Ont., for the under-16 ski racing national championships, which will run from Feb. 21 to 26.
“It’s pretty cool to see them work so hard to make the changes they needed to make to get to that level,” said Sun Peaks Alpine Club program director Montana Molyneux, who will also make the trip to Ontario.
“This race series will be so rewarding in the fact that they made it and now they get to compete against all the other U16s that qualified in Canada.”
There were six Sun Peaks Racers in action at the most recent provincial series event at Red Mountain, where males and females each competed in four events — two slalom and two giant slalom.
Jacoby was seventh overall in the first two-run giant slalom, eighth overall in the second two-run giant slalom and tied for eighth in the final two-run slalom.
Hooton placed fifth overall in the second two-run giant slalom, three spots ahead of Jacoby, and the time on his second trip down the hill — 59.56 seconds — was the second-fastest time of that heat.
There were 55 males entered at the Red Mountain event, which wrapped up on Feb. 5.
Both Jacoby and Hooton are ranked among the top 14 males in the under-16 B.C. Alpine standings, which qualifies them for nationals.
Meanwhile, the other four Sun Peaks entrants at Red Mountain made strides of their own.
Colton Kovacs and Rio Shatzko, both first-year under-16s, are looking forward to the final event of the provincial series, which runs from March 9 to 12 in Whistler.
“Rio had a good crash at Red,” Molyneux said. “That ended up taking him out, but the boys performed really well.
“We’re just chalking everything up to experience and trying to move them up through the rankings, so they can get better starts for the next race and get themselves into a good position to perform next year, when they’ll be more competitive.”
Fearless Erin Cope, one of two female Sun Peaks Racers who took to the slopes at Red Mountain, had a milestone performance — she successfully finished all four races.
“She goes really fast and goes all out,” Molyneux said with a laugh. “We’ve been trying to get her to harness her energy and her speed to complete the course as fast as possible, but with a strategy. We’re really excited.”
Emily Whitecross also made improvements.
“She’s been working really hard to find better body position,” Molyneux said. “She can get a little more aggressive and let the skis go. Everyone has a few things to work on.”
There are still spots up for grabs at the under-16 Whistler Cup in April, 16 each for the top males and females in the province, so focus turns now to strong results at the final B.C. series stop of the season next month.
“There’s still lots to work toward,” Molyneux said. “Everyone’s training for Whistler.”