International ski race kicks off at Mount Sima in Whitehorse

The Coaches Cup Race, sanctioned by International Ski Federation known as FIS, kicks of at Whitehorse's Mount Sima on Friday and runs until Saturday afternoon. It's the first time Mount Sima will place host to this event.

'It's a very energetic and enthusiastic crew,' says race administrator Phyllis Kennedy

Skiiers from around the world will compete at the Coaches Cup Race held this year at Whitehorse's Mount Sima ski hill. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

An international ski race kicks off Friday at Whitehorse's Mount Sima.

The Coaches Cup Race is sanctioned by International Ski Federation, abbreviated in all languages as FIS. The organization is the highest governing body for international winter sports, and its responsibilities include setting international competition rules. 

It's the first time Mount Sima will play host to this competition. For the organizers, this has been a dream come true.

Over the next two days, the ski hill will showcase some of the best up-and-coming alpine skiers in giant slalom and slalom — events that involve skiing between sets of poles or gates placed at varying intervals. Teams are here from Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Austria and Sweden.

"Looking forward to running the race. It's a very energetic and enthusiastic crew," said race administrator Phyllis Kennedy.

A portrait of a women with a ski hill behind her.
Phyllis Kennedy is the race administrator for the Coaches Cup ski race held at Mount Sima in Whitehorse this year. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

"Everybody gets excited at the start of the year for the first race of the year and, and coming off of the COVID," said Kennedy, who is usually based in Calgary and has been administrating races for the past 24 years. She was asked by Alpine Yukon to help with this race.

"It's just so exciting for these kids," she said of the Friday event. "They've been off snow for most of them for all summer."

Having the event in Whitehorse means skiers get an early jump on their season. 

Sam Oettli, the general manager of Mount Sima, said a lot of hard work over the years has led to Whitehorse hosting the International event.

A portrait of a man with a ski hill behind him.
Sam Oettli is the general manager of Mount Sima ski hill. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

"For them to be able to have a race this early in the season puts them in a very good position moving into the rest of the season as well," Oettli said.

"Their athletes get on snow, they get into that racing mindset and also just the points advantage of being able to get a few points depending on how they place ahead of all the other racers."

Oettli said the snow making machines have been making snow for a while now and the conditions are prime for the race.

The races start at 11 a.m. Friday and wraps up Saturday afternoon.

A ski slope with chair lifts on an overcast day.
Mount Sima in Whitehorse pictured on Thursday. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)