“It was the best run of my life.”
That’s how 13-year-old Heming Sola described his slalom run that captured gold in the under-14 age group at the Whistler Cup on April 16.
“I skied everything as hard as I could. I knew it was one of the last races of the year,” said Sola, who showed he is one of Canada’s best skiers.
The Summerland native changed his approach in the second run after being cautious and placing third in his first slalom run. He defeated the second-place finisher by .08 seconds. Sola also took third in the dual slaloms and was seventh in giant slalom. That performance also helped him accomplish something no Apex Ski Club (ASC) member has at the Whistler Cup — he won the Dave Murray Cup as the top Canadian performer in under-14. Murray is known for being a member of the Crazy Canucks in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s and competed in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid where he placed 10th.
“That’s quite a big accomplishment. Coming into the race I didn’t know anything about that award,” said Sola. “I knew I was one of the better skiers in Canada. I knew I had a shot at an award but wasn’t expecting it. It was really surprising, it was cool.”
Sola, who also earned bronzed in dual slalom and finished seventh in giant slalom, returned to school and had people he didn’t really know congratulating him. He said it was “pretty cool” how fast word spread.
“It’s the best a kid has ever done from my club,” said ASC coach Jorgen Anderson. “He skied awesome. He was just on fire. He’s always good under pressure.”
Anderson said when it comes to Sola’s development, he is on track while changing every year. Sola is developing right where his coach wants it. At a recent competition in Banff, Sola held his own against skiers two years older.
Sola said competing in the Whistler Cup was a cool experience as he walked in a parade with international athletes and made new friends. When it came to competing, he was focused, yet there to have fun.
Ana Large picked up bronze in the U14 ladies giant slalom. Anderson said she skied really well and it was a good way for her to finish. She placed 14th in the slalom race. Noa Rogers was fourth in the dual slalom and had a chance to win the giant slalom, but fell. Jaras Grant and Quinton Pearson also performed well starting near the end of the field and finishing in the 30 range. Blanka Gerloczy also had good performances.
The under-16 group of Isaac Athans, Devin Blaser, Tamatea Westby, Agatka Koczij and Kristen Anderson, who the coach called the warriors of Whistler had the toughest races in difficult conditions.
“If you didn’t start in the top 20, you are skiing on massive holes and ruts,” said Anderson. “It was really tough for the 16s. It was really tough to podium in U16, it is international competition.”