A freeskier from Sun Peaks was able to take them on and win
The fastest non-motorized man in the world maintained his title at the FIS Speed Ski World Cup race on March 3.
Simone Origone of Italy won the men’s Speed One race with a top speed of 146.43 kilometres per hour. Ivan Origone of Italy finished second at 146.28 km/h and Austrian Klaus Schrottshammer finished third at 146.12 km/h. Local racer Joss Advocaat narrowly missed the podium, placing fourth at 144.67 km/h.
Weather was a challenge throughout the week of racing. Every day saw races either postponed or lowered to the mid start due to heavy snowfall, fog or high winds.
“It was very frustrating because the course was actually fantastic,” said race organizer Scott Coleman. “Next year hopefully we’ll get off the top because we never got to the top this year. We would’ve had good speeds because the course was really fast.”
Erik Backlund of Sweden won the men’s Speed Downhill race with a speed of 139.31 km/h, Swiss racer Michel Goumoens finished second at 137.97 km/h and Lars Beskow of Sweden finished third at 137.81 km/h.
Valentina Greggio claimed the ladies’ Speed One race with a top speed of 127.10 km/h, Teria-Jo Davies finished second at 125.89 km/h and Sarah McDiarmid finished third
at 124.62 km/h.
First-time competitor Rachael Chubb-Higgins claimed the ladies’ Speed Downhill title with a top speed of 99.23 km/h. Later in the week she surpassed her personal best with a speed of 116.28 km/h.
“The speed was exhilarating and the experience totally meditative, like all my senses were suspended,” Chubb-Higgins said.
A new event ‘So You Think You’re Fast Eh?’ attracted around 25 new speed skiers to test the low start of Headwalls on the first training day without the pressure of a World Cup race, but heavy snow and fog cancelled the new event after 13 runs.
Chubb-Higgins was the only skier to enter the World Cup race following the new event.
“We had bad weather, fog that day,” Coleman said. “The farthest competitor for ‘So You Think You’re Fast, Eh?’ was from Japan and then a number of U.S. states; Virginia, Colorado, California and Wyoming. We had some new people here which was great.”
Next year hopefully we’ll get off the top because we never got to the top this year.
On March 5, Advocaat claimed the 2016 Velocity Challenge title to wrap up the speed ski week with a top speed of 128.63 km/h. Britain’s Jan Farrell placed second with a speed of 128.42 km/h and Schrottshammer finished in third at 128.31 km/h.
“I was overwhelmed that I was able to accomplish this against this field, taking into consideration the great deal of support that these athletes receive from their national federations. A freeskier from Sun Peaks was able to take them on and win,” Advocaat said.
Advocaat travelled to Grandvalira, Andorra following the Sun Peaks race to continue on the FIS Speed Ski World Cup circuit. His trip was sponsored by the Austrian Speed Ski team and he said “it’s a strange feeling walking around being the only Canadian athlete.” He placed ninth in the final with a speed of 176.04 km/h.
At press time Advocaat sat seventh in the World Cup overall standings with three events remaining on the calendar. He will also compete in Vars, France this month, in a World Cup and invitational speed masters event in hopes to beat the Canadian record of