Canada Winter Games Comes to a Close

Submitted by Canada Winter Games Head Coach Heather Metzger…..

“What an experience we had in Alberta! The 2019 Canada Winter Games (CWG) exceeded all our expectations and was so much FUN for all of us!!  I would like to extend a huge thank you to Brent Gazarek (U16 coach from Craigleith) and Jurg Gfeller (U16 coach from the National Ski Academy) for their passion, hard work, energy and support of our athletes. Last but not least a huge personal thank you to Ally Dandy our apprentice coach who was simply awesome !!  She quickly became a big part of the team and helped in so many aspects. Again thank you, thank you!

Congratulations to all the athletes for their efforts and hard work, professionalism, good behaviour and most importantly, their support of each other. Along with a ton of learning, fun, uniform swaps, some medals, some top 10’s, some podiums and some disappointments, I saw a motivated and inspiring group of athletes with a strong desire to work hard and get to the next level. What impressed the coaching staff the most was the ‘go-for’ attitude, the strong skiing and the aggressive attacking down each race course. This of course doesn’t always translate to medals but we consistently placed 4 boys in the top 10 each day and the girls were in the top 15-20 which, at a National championships, is something to be proud of and to build on. Ontario is definitely in the mix with the best in Canada!

The CWG was unique due to its integration with the Para athletes. It was both inspiring and humbling to watch these incredible athletes and get to know them as well. Our athletes and coaches were so impressed with the determination, strength and courage shown by the para team on and off the hill. Their ability to overcome challenges, pain, to deal with adversity, and to hear their stories gave many of our athletes a whole different perspective.  Please see more on the Para team from Head Coach Gwen Binsfeld here.

As for actual results, Team Ontario placed 2nd in the overall Games medal count with 105 medals behind Quebec with 146 medals. In the Alpine skiing able-bodied competition Quebec lead the way with 7 medals, Alberta was 2nd with 6 medals and Team Ontario was 3rd with four medals.  Aleksas Valadka of Georgian Peaks claimed a silver in SG and bronze in both the GS and SL. His teammate Kyle Blandford also grabbed a bronze medal in the SG. Congratulations to both Kyle and Aleks!!

Gold – QC
Silver – Alta
Bronze – Alta
Gold – QC
Silver – ONT
Bronze – ONT
Gold – QC
Silver – Alta
Bronze – Alta
Gold – QC
Silver – QC
Bronze – ONT
Gold – QC
Silver – Alta
Bronze – QC
Gold – BC
Silver – Alta
Bronze – ONT

In the Ski Cross competition that ran on the final day of competition at Canyon Resort near Red Deer NSA’s Lily Sewell was 6th for Team Ontario, Kyle Blandford 7th spot and Aleksas Valadka 8th spot. Lily is a first-year U16 racer from the National Ski Academy.

Other notable top 10 finishes included:
5  – Ellis Reid/Craigleith
7  – James Gatcliffe/Georgian Peaks
8 – Penny Robinson/TBFast
4 – Ben Weingust/Craigleith – 1st year U16
5 – Ben Neylan/National Ski Academy
9 – James Gatcliffe/Georgian Peaks
7 – Tessa Foote/National Ski Academy
9 – Penny Robinson/TBFast
4 – Ellis Reid/Craigleith
7 – Ben Weingust/Craigleith
9- Ben Neylan/NSA
4 – Penny Robinson/TBFast

On a closing note, we look forward to Alpine Canada’s Whistler Cup announcement coming soon and next weeks Rossiter Boats U16 OCUP FINALS starting on Tuesday in the Collingwood area. While I return to my Georgian Peaks coaching role I will continue to watch the 14 athletes we led at the CWG with pride – continue working hard, inspire your teammates and strive for the best. You are very talented skiers and have a great ski racing career ahead of you.” ~ Heather.