The spirit of St. Patrick was alive and well March 16/17 for the annual Caribou Cup hosted by Banff Alpine at Mount Norquay.
The warm weather brought a long-awaited spring vibe that was perfect for the weekend race. The sun radiated through the panels as over 200 athletes from over 18 clubs participated, including teams from Saskatchewan. Since the race came to fruition in 1978, thousands of athletes have launched out of the start gate in this U12 championship. Making this year the 41st installment of the Caribou Cup!
Saturday hosted 4 GS (giant slalom) raced runs on Rob’s Run showcasing some wickedly fast skiing from across the province. Athlete results were chosen on the best/fastest run of two in the morning and best of two in the afternoon. Three teams tied for first in the girls’ division, followed closely by the boys who had solid first through third finishes.
Sunday saw some more spectacular weather with the team event commencing in front of the Mount Norquay lodge. Many parents could be seen cheering on their children from the sidelines or from the patio (the best view, from our biased opinion). Many even dawned their St. Patrick’s day spirit with lucky green hats and dazzling glasses.
The team event witnessed a record-breaking 1800 starts and 9 race runs in the Round Robin style race. Racers were mixed and paired with athletes from different clubs and put into groups, each group totaling 10 athletes each. This was done as an opportunity to contribute to our racing community by meeting children from other teams while racing in a team environment.
Many athletes stuck around after their runs or raced up to the start to cheer on their teammates, embodying the team spirit many coaches and parents actively encourage. There was never a dull moment in either area!
Adding to the energy was Coach Ross and parent Betty Jo could also be heard commentating the race in live time, everything from reminding everyone to wear their sunscreen to introducing each athlete and their team, with a few jokes tossed in between.
At the end of the rainbow finish line was a photo for each athlete provided by Malcolm Carmichael, our local photographer.
A big thanks to the clubs who traveled to attend the race, to the volunteers, Mount Norquay and our sponsor Caribou Lodging Company for making it possible to continue to host such a monumental tradition.
Story by Hannah Willinger, Photos Malcolm Carmichael
Our own Crazy Canuck Ken Read recently wrote about the history of the Caribou Cup. Find that story here: https://skierone.com/2019/03/17/the-caribou-albertas-premiere-u12-alpine-ski-race/