Red Mountain Racer Soleil Patterson will join 17 other talented up-and-coming athletes from across the country selected to represent Canada at the 22nd annual Whistler Cup from April 4-6 in Whistler. More than 400 athletes from around the world will vie for the coveted Nations’ Cup title – one Canada successfully reclaimed at last year’s event.
The Whistler Cup, presented by Rio Tinto Alcan, is one of the most prestigious events in the world for aspiring World Cup racers aged 12-15, who will put it all on the line in super-G, slalom and giant slalom over three days of racing in Whistler.
Nine men and nine women from Ontario, Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia will fly the flag for Team Canada, and will strive to defend the Nations’ Cup title earned by Team Canada at last year’s event in a fierce battle against Team Norway, which placed second. The Canadians will compete against athletes from 25 different countries.
“This is really the highlight of the year, and a chance to showcase what the best young athletes in the country are doing,” said Rob Boyd in a release. Boyd of Whistler Mountain Ski Club, is a former Canadian Alpine Ski Team athlete and World Cup winner who is head coach for the Canadian Whistler Cup team.
“There are definitely some athletes on the team who have performed very well this season. It will be the first time for them to work together as a nation under the same umbrella like this, which is the neat thing about the Whistler Cup.
Patterson qualified for the Whistler Cup by cleaning up at the Teck Alpine U16 Provincial championships in Prince George in February.The 15-year-old Rossland native won the overall provincial title after claiming three gold and a silver medal at the event.
Patterson had injured herself in a competition in Fernie six weeks earlier and hadn’t raced since. She was cleared to race after passing concussion protocol tests only a week prior to the provincials.
She will join Team Canada in Whistler for a preparation camp prior to the start of racing, which will help determine the composition of the final teams; the 18 Canadian athletes will be divided into men’s and women’s Team Canada 1, 2 and 3.
“I look forward to seeing how we can get the athletes representing Canada to peak and be at the highest level they can be during the competition,” Boyd said. “Our goal is to claim the Whistler (Nations’) Cup. In doing so, we of course will be aiming for podium finishes. When the athletes are skiing their best, anything is possible…I think we’ve got a pretty darn good chance.”
Patterson will be joined by Laura Swaffield and Finn Iles of Whistler as the only other skiers from B.C. to be named to the team.