These are some of the alpine athletes who represented Quesnel at the high school ski and snowboard championships. (Correlieu Secondary School photo)

These are some of the alpine athletes who represented Quesnel at the high school ski and snowboard championships. (Correlieu Secondary School photo)

Quesnel’s Correlieu is B.C.’s top alpine skiing school

CSS wins the combined boys and girls component at high school provs

After going up and down the slopes of Sun Peaks, Quesnel’s teen alpine athletes are at the top of the provincial mountain for the rest of the year.

Correlieu Secondary School won the provincial title in downhill skiing: top overall school in the province for the sport, after the boys and girls divisions were added up.

The city also had high results for snowboarding, and saw the next generation of alpine athletes announce their arrival as well, by Quesnel Junior Secondary competitors also racing well above their age.

One of the team’s coaches, Mike Sakakibara, broke it all down, after the B.C. High School Ski & Snowboard provincial championships were held at Sun Peaks the week of March 27th.

“The race format was a two-run combined time format giant slalom (GS) race and a single run timed technical giant slalom (TGS or ski cross),” said Sakakibara. “The combined points from both the GS and TGS determined the winners for boys and girls and overall school team placement.”

The Correlieu boys skiers combined to win 3rd place in the province, only two points shy of 2nd.

The Correlieu girls skiers combined to win 2nd place in the province.

Together, there was no other school who scored so high, giving Correlieu the top prize of all, the B.C. skiing school of the year.

“While not first places individually, the placement of the girls and boys skiers was enough to give the overall provincial team championship for skiing to Correlieu for 2023,” Sakakibara said. “Last year the Correlieu boys skiers brought home the first place which was the first provincial championship in the schools history. Two seasons and two provincial championships. Way to go Correlieu.”

The success wasn’t done there. Correlieu’s boys boarders earned 10th place in the province, and would have been even higher had they not suffered a disqualification, meaning only three out of four times counted, and they still made the Top 10.

Quesnel Junior Secondary sent a team of girls skiers who came 7th place in the province, which was an accomplishment unto itself.

“It important to note that in skiing/snowboarding the competition is based on the school not grade levels, therefore it is a fantastic feat for the QJS team to qualify for the provincials as they are only Grades 8 and 9,” said Sakakibara. “They have an excellent team that I am sure will be on the podium in the next couple of years.”

Sakakibara also pointed out a rare all-around individual feat. “A fun fact was that Phoenix Knauf competed as a skier on the Correlieu girls team and as an individual in the snowboard race.”

All these categories had to have their teams earn their way in by winning at the zone level first, which meant coming Top 3 at the preliminaries held this year at Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers.

“The kids train every Saturday starting in January, while the athletes who are currently with the Lightning Creek Ski Club (the city’s downhill race club) train up to four days per week,” said Sakakibara. “Fourteen of the 19 athletes are former or current members of the Lightning Creek Ski Club.”

In addition to Sakakibara, the athletes are also coached by John Marien and Grace Klapatiuk.

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