Young sliders from the Sea to Sky corridor scored an impressive medal haul during the first Junior and Youth A World Cup Luge in Whistler over the weekend (Dec. 4 – 7), competing against 80 athletes from 11 countries.
Pemberton’s Adam Shippit lead the charge with two gold medals in the Youth A men division.
“Two world cups, two golds, it couldn’t get much better,” said Shippit. “I was training really hard, as much as I could to get the track down and make sure there was no mistakes anywhere.”
Shippit has only raced two youth world cups, both in Germany, and took full advantage of two events being hosted at his home venue — the Whistler Sliding Centre — against the world’s best youth sliders.
“It’s definitely good to live so close to a track,” said Shippit. “It was a great experience. You need to know your competition overseas. All we do here (usually) is domestic races. When you’re able to race and see where you’re at in the world, it’s good.”
Whistler’s Matt Riddle and Reid Watts also walked away with a sizeable medal haul. Watts earned one bronze and one silver in Youth A men and Riddle managing one silver, but the two teamed up for the doubles division to earn a gold medal. They were unfortunately disqualified at the second doubles event for carrying too much weight, but were still happy with their performances at their first World Cup for the season.
“We raced last year but I didn’t do too well, but to do decent at World Cup feels good,” said Riddle. “I definitely posted some of my (personal bests), particularly after the finish line got moved forward. It was a pretty cool experience.”
As a Whistler local, Riddle has been able to take full advantage of learning his home track at WSC, describing his familiarity of the corners as being able “to do it blindfolded.” Coach of the Canadian junior luge team Brendan Hauptman said that constant mileage is necessary to build world-class luge athletes.
“Luge is a sport that is pretty much all about experience. The more runs you have anywhere, the better you’re going to do,” said Hauptman. “That’s why the German guys can push 35, 40 years old sometimes and still dominate the sport, because they know (the track) like the back of their hand and they can react to anything.”
Other notable Canadian results included Calgary’s Kyla Graham who managed two bronze medals, Nicky Klimchuk-Brown from Squamish with one bronze medal and Evan Wildman and Heat Karpyshyn with a gold after the Ukranian team of Roman Radchenkov and Orest Sobota did not complete their second run. Pemberton’s Nicole Pidperyhora managed a fourth place in Youth A women.
The next stop for the Canadian juniors will be at Park City, Utah from Dec. 15 – 16.