For the first time since 1995, Para Alpine athletes are back competing at the Canada Winter Games. James Binsfeld, from Team Ontario and Alexandra Starker, from Team Alberta were the crowned gold medalists today at the Para Alpine GS race at Ski Wentworth.
Team Ontario had a strong showing on the podium, taking three of top six spots awarded to the overall men and women’s winners. Medals and flag points are awarded based on an overall ranking within the men’s and women’s categories, regardless of sitting or standing classification.
Starker, who is competing in her first Canada Winter Games, won the women’s race in a combined 2-run time of 2:20:43. The silver medal was awarded to Alana Ramsay of Team Alberta in a time of 2:23:32 and bronze to Sandra Robinson of Team Ontario in a time of 2:30:08. All three women compete as standing skiers, but with different factors.
“I’m very happy with my race today. I haven’t been able to train much GS lately, as I am still dealing with lingering issues from a broken leg two years ago, but I took a few chances and it panned out”, said Starker following the race.
On the men’s side, Binsfeld won the men’s race in a combined time of 2:06:29, beating out his nearest competitor Michael Whitney from Team Ontario by over three seconds, who completed the race in a time of 2:10:77. The podium was rounded out by Team BC athlete Caleb Brousseau, who finished the race with a total time of 2:13:02. Binsfeld and Whitney are both standing skiers, Brousseau is a sit skier.
Like many athletes, Binsfeld was cheered on by not only teammates, but family members as well. “The best part of my day is that my dad was here to see me ski. He isn’t able to make it out to many events, but he and my younger brother drove all the way out here from Ontario to watch me race”. It’s a Binsfeld family reunion here, his mother is a Team Ontario para alpine coach and his older brother who lives in Halifax has come to watch.
It was noted by many athletes that it was a welcome change to have their able body counter parts cheering them on at the finish line. “It was cool to see all the teams together at the finish line, the camaraderie between the para and able bodied skiers is not something we are used to” said Starker.
The alpine events continue all week at Ski Wentworth, with the para SL taking place tomorrow.