SUN PEAKS, B.C. – Even thousands of metres atop snowy slopes, the global COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic was felt.
Following Thursday’s (March 12) mass cancellations, modifications, and suspended play in the sports world, the U16 Canadian Alpine National Championships also stopped midway through competition, abruptly ending the event taking place from March 9-14 at Sun Peaks Resort, B.C.
Zoe Belczyk, assistant coach for the Sunshine Racers U16 team, said Thursday’s cancellation was a surprise, but understandable.
“Everything came down pretty hard in the last week,” Belczyk said.
“It’s definitely disappointing to have the season come to an abrupt end, but it was a necessary precaution they needed to take.”
At the championship, four local athletes competed in super-G and giant slalom (GS) on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday (March 9-10, 12).
On Thursday morning, Alpine Canada recommended the cancellation of all domestic events for the remainder of the season, and on Friday, the event’s remaining races – ski cross and slalom – were cancelled.
Canmore’s Caleb Brooks, 15, finished fourth in GS and had two top 15 results in super-G.
He had a feeling something was about to happen during the races, but was happy with the races he was able to compete in. Brooks added he was finding his groove on the slopes as the competition went on, and was confident he would have stepped on the podium during the more technical races.
“I’m definitely a better technical skier than a speed skier,” said Brooks, who trains with Lake Louise Ski Club (LLSC). “I brought up the intensity a lot more, skied smart and had more confidence in my self.”
Canmore’s Pele Christoffersson of Sunshine Racers finished in eighth in GS, and scored two top 15 results in the super-G racing.
Chloe Lawson, also of Sunshine Racers, was the lone local female racer at nationals, and her best result was 26th in GS.
LLSC’s Baptiste Cais had a top finish of 34th in GS, and his teammate, Jacob Baggot's best finish was 36th, also in GS.
Alpine Canada’s recommendation, plus the Canadian government shutting down national borders, also means the Whistler Cup, the only international race for Canadian U16 competitors is more than likely going to be cancelled as well.