Canada once again won the Nations’ title at the Whistler Cup ahead of the USA and Japan, thanks in part to the hard work of six Revelstoke ski racers. Sara-Jo Howatt, Emily Unterberger, Callum Hicks, Mitch Smith, Max Scharf and Lachlan Hicks were among the 450 skiers from 25 countries hosted at the international children’s race.
“It was a really memorable experience,” said coach Hilary Blackett. “The parade was really exciting, and the banquet featured Canadian ski legends Steve Podborski and Britt and Mike Janyk,” she added. “Sara-Jo was given a ski strap and chopsticks from Japan,” Blackett noted as an example of the cross-cultural exchange that can take place at an event of that scope.
The Revelstoke racers did not seemed phased by the pressure of the high-profile event; rather, they stepped up and overcame some very late start positions to contribute some stellar results for their country.
Under sunny skies on the first day, Callum Hicks finished ninth and Sara-Jo Howatt 19th in the K1 kombi. Lachlan Hicks moved up to 29th from 82nd in the K2 super-G, while Max Scharf moved from 89th to 45th. Emily Unterberger placed 86th and Mitch Smith did not start.
Day two brought more sun and firm track conditions, thanks to the water-injected surface. Emily Unterberger finished a strong 29th in the K2 giant slalom, which was won by an Austrian. Lachlan Hicks finished in the top ten in the K2 slalom, after impressively starting 81st and moving into fifth place on the first run. Max Scharf finished 25th after starting 87th, and Mitch Smih did not finish. Callum Hicks scored another top ten with an eighth in the K1 slalom, while Sara-Jo Howatt placed 26th in the giant slalom.
The third and final day proved to be the most challenging, with wet snow, rain and softer course conditions. On the women’s side, Howatt finished 25th in the K1 slalom and Emily Unterberger did not finish. Callum Hicks placed 22nd in the one-run K1 giant slalom; brother Lachlan came 37th, Smith placed 56th and Scharf did not finish the K2 race.
Head coach Ned Lazarevic was thrilled with the outcomes of the winter. “The season was great – the best ever for the club,” he said. “We had a really good coaching staff and everyone had lots of fun.”
Congratulations to all Revelstoke Ski Club athletes on an outstanding season and good luck next year!