Posted May 1, 2013
Shirley Firth Passes
The Canadian ski community is saddened by the loss of ski icon Shirley Firth Larsson, who had been fighting cancer for several years.
Shirley and her twin sister, Sharon were prominent national team skiers in the 70’s and 80’s and both skied on our club trails at one time or other..
Here is a link to a Cross Country Canada post on Shirley.
Posted April 30, 2013
Update on Charges - Message from the Board
Dear WCCSC members,
You probably have heard that the Club has now been to court to deal with offences under the Forest Resources Act and the Land Use Regulations of the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act, resulting from trail work done on the Skyline Trail last year.
The Club has been convicted under these charges and has been ordered to pay a $1,725 fine, plus complete remediation work on the trail this summer under the direction of the Yukon Lands Branch.
The board accepts the ruling and will fully cooperate with the Lands Branch in developing and implementing the remediation plan. We will be calling for volunteers from the club during the summer when the trails are dry enough to do the required work without damaging the terrain.
We look forward to putting this issue behind us and continuing with our long-standing mutually cooperative relationship with the Lands Branch, the City and other authorities as we continue maintain and develop our trail system in a way that demonstrates responsible stewardship of the environment.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Posted April 23, 2013
Cross Country Canada Names Local Skiers to National Teams
It should come as no surprise to anyone, but once again Yukon skiers are represented on the Canadian National Junior and Senior Cross Country teams for the upcoming 2013/14 ski season.
The dynamic siblings Emily and Graham Nishikawa will return to the National Senior Development squad and Dahria Beatty returns to the National Junior Team.
All three were on these teams in the past season.
Both Nishikawas were part of the Canadian team at the recent World Nordic Championships in Italy, just a small notch below the Olympics on the race calendar. And Beatty has represented Canada in previous seasons as the World Junior Championships.
This will be a critical year for the ski community as a whole as everyone gears up for a shot at representing Canada at the Sochi Olympics, which kick off on February 7, 2014.
The Canadian Olympic ski team will be named after qualification races in mid-December at Rossland BC and in January at Canmore Alberta.
Posted April 19, 2013
Update on Charges (statement from the Board)
Dear WCCSC members,
You may have heard that the Club has been charged with two offences under the Forest Resources Act and the Land Use Regulations of the Territorial Lands (Yukon) Act, resulting from some trail work conducted last year.
The work was done as part of the Skyline trail pilot project, to create a link from Fish Lake Road to the Fraser Loop.
Naturally, the members of your Board of Directors are very distressed by this situation and are treating it as a serious matter. We are currently examining all options that are available to the Club to determine how to proceed.
The Club has worked closely for many years and enjoyed mutually cooperative relationships with the Lands Branch, conservation authorities, forestry officials, the City of Whitehorse and others to develop and maintain our 85 kilometres of trails. We value those relationships and intend to continue to do our part in maintaining them.
We will continue to keep our members informed as new developments occur.
On behalf of the Board of Directors,
Posted April 18, 2013
Nishikawa's Thanks to Club
Emily and Graham Nishikawa were in town this week and made a special presentation to the club.
As the first Yukoners to compete in the World Nordic Championships since Lucy Steele, they brought the club a souvenir bib from the races, suitably autographed. The bib was presented to Anne Kennedy - for a photo of the ceremony, click here.
Posted April 13, 2013
While most people have hung up their racing duds for the season, Knute Johnsgaard went off to compete in the final event of the U.S, Supertour, which also doubled as the U.S. Distance championships.
Racing against the best of the U.S. senior men in a 50 km race, Knute finished a strong 4th place, with Kris Freeman taking the win for the day.
The races were hosted at the Royal Gorge ski area, just outside of Lake Tahoe.
The race wraps up some great late season performances for Johsgaard. He is ranked as the top U23 skier in the country.
Posted April 12, 2013
Dean is Tops!
The club has nominated Ted Dean as City of Whitehorse Volunteer of the Year.
Ted has become a mainstay of the groomer crew over the past few years; he's one of the guys out in the middle of the night getting the trails in super shape for all of us. Adding to the mix, Ted is also a mainstay of the grooming crew across the valley at the Biathlon Club.
The City of Whitehorse accepts nominations from groups across the city each year at this time. The awards will be presented at a reception hosted by the city on April 24.
Volunteerism is a core value for the ski club and the city as a whole. Without great volunteers like Ted, the city would be much diminished.
Posted April 1, 2013
Nationals Wrap Up in Whistler
The Haywood Ski Nationals wrapped up at the Whislter Olympic Park on Saturday with the long distance races, all using skating technique.
Keeping up the trend for the week, the day featured dazzling sunlight and rapidly changing conditions that had the wax techs scrambling and spectators slathering on the sunscreen.
The first race of the day was the Open Men’s 50 km, with 90 men hitting the start grid together. With temperatures at the freezing mark early in the day, the course was rock hard and wickedly fast. The pack blew up early as the leaders pushed the pace from the start – the men went through their first 5 km in under 12 minutes.
Top Yukoner for the day was Graham Nishikawa, who stuck with the leaders until the last 2 km when his legs ran out of steam. He crossed the finish line in 9th place, 47 seconds back of U.S. skier Torin Koos. David Greer also had a good race and finished in 12th place.
With temperatures rapidly warming up after the Open Men’s race (they peaked at +14 during the races later in the day), organizers managed to keep the courses fast and hard by using fertilizer on the snow. As the day progressed, the athletes swapped out racing suits for shorts and t-shirts, giving the whole event a holiday flavor.
In the Junior Women’s 20 km, Dahria Beatty turned in a respectable 5th place, followed by Kendra Murray, who placed 7th.
Top Yukon performances for the day came in the Juvenile Boys group, where Marcus Deuling picked up a bronze medal, followed by Caelan McLean in 7th. Both McLean and Deuling had superb weeks, showing that they are a duo to look out for in future national competitions.
Every year, the Ski Nationals feature aggregate awards to honour the clubs and skiers who consistently perform during the week. Points are awarded for performances in the top 30 for each race and category and the various awards are hotly contended as the tension builds through the week.
In the overall club aggregate award, Whitehorse finished in 4th place, with the powerhouse Nakkertok club once again taking the win. Sixty-seven clubs from across the country were represented at the Nationals this year, bringing over 600 athletes to the races.
In individual aggregate categories, Caelan McLean was 2nd overall, with Marcus Deuling 4th among the Juvenile Boys group.
Three Whitehorse skiers hit the top 10 in the Open Men’s group: Graham Nishikawa was 2nd, David Greer 4th and Knute Johnsgaard 7th. Johnsgaard was also recognized as the top U23 skier of the championships, with Colin Abbott in 4th.
And in the Junior Women’s group, Dahria Beatty was 4th and Kendra Murray was 6th.
The skiers now get some well-deserved rest before heading into their summer training schedule.
Posted March 28, 2013
Silver Day at Whistler
A great day for both male and female sides of the Yukon contingent at the Haywood Ski Nationals. Thursday featured the second day of classic technique sprint racing, this time with the older skiers hitting the trails.
Two Yukon women made the A final in the Junior Women’s group, and in an exciting 5-wide group finish Dahria Beatty was narrowly outsprinted for the win by Sarah Beaudry of Prince George’s Caledonia club. Kendra Murray just missed the medal ranks when a photo finish put her in 4th place.
Janelle Greer, in a return to racing after a year off for injury, had a good qualifying round but didn’t make it past the quarter finals in the Open Women’s group. Top Open Woman for the day was National Team member Dasha Gaizova, fresh off the World Cup circuit. Gaizova dominated the field, winning all of her heats with ease.
In the Open Men’s field, an impressive 5 Yukoners qualified to ski in the 30-man strong heats, demonstrating to the country that the Whitehorse club has depth of field to spare.
Both Graham Nishikawa and Knute Johnsgaard made it through the quarter and semi-final rounds into the A finals. The six man group in the A final hit the corners shoulder to shoulder over the hilly 1.6 km course, ending in a massive photo finish that gave Graham Nishikawa a silver medal. Knute Johnsgaard finished with a 6th place for the day. The gold medal was won by Toronto’s Lenny Valjas, one of the best classic sprinters in the world.
David Greer, who narrowly missed making the A final, showed his mettle by winning the B final by a huge margin. He broke away from the field on the final climb and showed that he is a force to be reckoned with when the going gets tough, taking the heat with a 20 metre margin to give him an overall 7th place finish for the day.
It was another day for the weather record books as the sun once again turned the snow soft during the races, getting the wax techs scrambling to adjust to rapidly changing conditions. The sun was intense enough that organizers had to put tents in the stadium to shield the athletes from the rays as they waited for their starts.
The last races of the championships go on Saturday with long-distance free technique races on the Olympic trail system.
Posted March 27, 2013
Hot Times in Whistler
Day 4 of the Haywood Ski Nationals taking place at the Whistler Olympic Park featured short classic technique sprints for the Juvenile and Junior Boys and Girls categories.
Only four Yukon skiers suited up for the day, but still made their mark.
In the Juvenile Boys 1 km sprints, both Caelen Mclean and Marcus Deuling made the top 30 cut to advance to the quarter finals in the huge 94-strong field.
Caelin Mclean was the star for the day as he easily advanced to the finals, and then earned a silver medal for his collection. Philippe Boucher of the Skibec club took the gold.
Mclean is having a great season, showing that he can hold his own over both distance and sprint courses against the best in the country.
Marcus Deuling was knocked out of contention in his quarter-final, but finished a very respectable 19th for the day. Hudson Lucier failed to advance from the qualifying round and finished in 44th place.
In the Junior Women’s group, Adrienne Hynes raced her 1.2 km course to a 33rd placing and did not advance to the heats.
Weather was the main topic of conversation for the day as sunny skies and soaring temperatures ruled, contrary to both forecasts and expectations.
By the time the semi-finals were running, the mercury had soared to +12C and skiers were hitting the start line in shorts and t-shirts. The course crew managed to keep tracks in place, but the hard, lightning quick tracks from the qualification rounds had turned soft and slow, making it a challenging day for skiers and techs alike.
Races continue on Thursday when the seniors take to the trails for their chance at sprint glory.
Posted March 26, 2013
Medal Haul at Nationals
Day 3 of the Haywood Ski Nationals kicked off with a bang for Whitehorse skiers.
The dynamic duo of Caelan Mclean and Marcus Deuling almost filled the podium in the Juvenile Boys 7.5 km classic technique race, picking up gold and bronze respectively.
The day started out with fast, rock hard tracks for the athletes, but then the sun came out. By early afternoon, skiers were heading out wearing shorts as the temperatures soared to +9C by the time the Open Men’s 15 km race kicked off.
The soft conditions didn’t hamper the Yukon skiers; David Greer had a stellar race and finished 3rd overall, just ahead of Graham Nishikawa who was fourth overall. Greer wins a silver medal as the second Canadian; while Nishikawa adds a bronze to his collection.
Top skier for the day was Brent McMurtry from the Foothills Nordic Club. McMurtry stopped the clock in 41:26 for the 15 km race.
Racing 10 km on the Vancouver Olympic trails, Whitehorse women also picked up some hardware.
In the Junior Women’s field, Kendra Murray had a great ski and finished with a silver medal, which also qualified her for a gold in the Canadian Colleges and University Championships, running concurrently with the Ski Nationals.
Dahria Beatty also had a good race and picked up a bronze in the Junior Women’s category.
The day was not so kind to Emily Nishikawa, who had a disappointing 15th place finish in the Open Women’s race. She looked tired right from the start, suffering from jet lag as she had flown in from Sweden hours before the race start.
Full results are available at www.zone4.ca.
Races continue on Wednesday with the first of two days of classic technique sprint racing.
Posted March 24, 2013
Solid Start to Ski Nationals
Whitehorse skiers had a solid start to the 2013 Haywood Ski Nationals, taking place this week at Whistler Olympic Park, bringing home three medals and a pair of top ten performances in a huge field of skiers from across the country, along with a sprinkling of international skiers.
The first event of the week long meet was the team sprint, where teams of two skiers alternate laps of a sprint course, each completing three circuits of the course.
In an exciting finish to the Open Men’s category, three teams, including two from Whitehorse, hit the last 30 metres together. In the end, the Foothills duo of Jessie Cockney and Brent McMurtry took the gold with less than a second margin over local skiers Knute Johnsgaard and David Greer. The duo of Graham Nishikawa and Colin Abbott took the bronze, only 0.3 seconds behind Greer and Johnsgaard.
On day two, skiers lined up at the start wand for an individual start skate race.
Hitting the hilly trails on a fast, hard packed course, Brian McKeever from the Foothills Nordic club, coming off gold medal performances on the world para-nordic circuit took the title for the Open Men’s 10 km race in an impressive 21:18 clocking. Graham Nishikawa had a solid race and took second place only 11 seconds back of McKeever. David Greer also hit the top ten, finishing in 8th place with a time of 21:54.
In the juvenile boys race, Caelan McLean missed the podium by a whisker, taking fourth place in his 5 km race. Fergus Foster, from the Big Thunder club took the gold.
Conditions were perfect for the first two days of racing at the traditionally wet race site; with cool nights hardening up the snow but sunny days welcoming the huge field of racers – 630 strong – and their fans.
Races continue on Tuesday with an interval start classic technique race.
Posted March 22, 2013
Nishikawa Top Canadian at World Cup Finals
Emily Nishikawa showed the country that she is in top form in the first event of the World Cup finals taking place this weekend in Falun, Sweden.
Nishikawa was the top Canadian in the women’s 2.5 km prologue to the three race series, crossing the line in 41st position overall with a time of 6:40. Daria Gaizova was the second Canadian; she was 49th overall.
To no one’s surprise, Norwegian Marit Bjoergen topped the field.
The Falun races continue on Saturday with the women doing a 10 km classic technique race.
Nishikawa will head home early next week to compete in the last half of the Haywood Ski Nationals, which kick off on Saturday in Whistler. She’ll be joining a strong Yukon contingent for a week of racing.
Posted March 6, 2013
Tim Hortons Ski'll Fest
Come join the fun and adventure with Cross Country Yukon's green squad athletes and coaches.
FUN FOOD AND SWAG.
It’s FREE, COOL! Just bring your skis!
The Tim Hortons Ski'll Fest is on Tuesday, March 19 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. All kids born in 2005 or later are welcome and it's free! To sign up,
email your name and age to Jan Downing <email@example.com>
Meet at the Grey Mountain Room, upstairs at the Ski Chalet. The adventure begins at 4:30 p.m. Food will be served at 5:30 p.m. And kids will depart with a Tim Hortons treasure at 6:00 p.m.
Posted March 3
World Nordic Championships Wrap-Up
There were lots of highs and lows for both the Yukon contingent and the Canadian team as a whole at the World Nordic Championships, which wrapped up today in Val di Fiemme.
The last race of the event was the men’s 50 km free technique race, where in an historic finish, Swede Johan Olsson held onto a 35 km breakaway to win a decisive victory in the free technique event. Graham Nishikawa finished off the day in mid-pack in 48th place, less than two minutes back of the leader. Disappointing for Graham, but being in the top 50 in the world among skiers who have been peaking specifically for this race is no mean feat. Top finisher for the day for Canada was Alex Harvey, in 28th position.
Earlier in the week, Graham also clocked a 39st place in the 15 km individual start skate race.
For sister Emily Nishikawa, the women’s 30 km race on Saturday proved disappointing. Skiing in tough +11C weather, the women’s field broke up early as a blistering pace was set by Marit Bjorgen of Norway (the eventual winner) and Poland’s Justina Kowalchuk. Unable to hold the pace, Nishikawa dropped back and was eventually lapped by the leaders, causing her to be pulled from the race.
Her best race of the week should have been the women’s 4x5 km relay, where she skied the 3rd leg for the team. She held her own in the race, starting off in 12th place and fighting off the opposition to hold the placing through the leg. What should have been a strong finish for the team was marred by illness as the remaining women on the team were ill, not allowing a full slate for the Canadians.
The highlight of the week for Canada was Alex Harvey’s bronze medal in the classic sprint race and two fourth place finishes; one from Ivan Babikov and one from the Harvey/Devon Kershaw duo in the team sprint.
Posted March 2
The winners of our annual Air North Challenge are:
- Flight pass for two from Air North, the Yukons Airline: Alexander Boyce
- Adult season pass for next season: Regan Fuerstner
- Junior season pass for next season: Glenys Baltimore
- Gift certificate from the Ski Base: Barrett Furchner
- Coffee card from the Ski Base: Claire Hills
Congratulations to all the winners and huge thanks to our sponsors - Air North, the Yukon's Airline and the Ski Base. And thanks to all the participants - see you next year!
Posted February 24
Northwestel Yukon Loppet
Perfect temperatures and snow conditions greeted the nearly 150 participant in the 30th annual Northwestel Yukon Loppet held on Saturday at the Whitehorse Nordic Centre.
With a new format and distances ranging from 3 km to 45 km that could be skied in either classic or skate style, the atmosphere was more party than race, helped greatly by the hot tubs lined up at the finish line. In a new twist on the event, a snow bike category was added with cyclists taking the opportunity to try out some of the single track trails at the nordic centre.
For full results, click here.
Huge thanks go to Monika Melnychuk and Allan Frostad who put the whole event together.
Posted February 24
Western Canadian Championships
Yukon Ski Team members were competing in the Western Canadian Championships in Grande Prairie Alberta over the weekend.
The Westerns, part of the Haywood NORAM series, was skied as a three day mini-tour for open classes, with both individual awards each day plus an overall championship; younger skiers took part in three individual races.
Top Yukoner for the weekend was Caelan MacLean, who competed in the Juvenile Boys Category. After narrowly missing the podium in Friday’s 2.5 km free technique race, Caelan put on the jets and picked up gold medals in both Saturday’s interval start classic race and Sunday’s mass start free technique race.
In the open classes, Dahria Beatty put in solid performances all weekend, and finished as the top Junior Woman.
Meanwhile, in the Open Men’s group, David Greer, Colin Abbott and Knute Johnsgaard all put in solid top ten performances in all of their races. David finished the min-tour in 6rh place overall after posting a 5th place finish in the sprint, 4th in the classic and 8th in the distance free event.
Posted February 24
World Nordic Ski Championships
Both Emily and Graham Nishikawa competed in Saturday’s skiathlon races in the World Nordic Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
It was a sold day for Graham in his first ever start at the Worlds, which is second only to the Olympics in the intensity of the competition.
Graham started out strong in the classic portion of the 30 km race, with very fast conditions challenging the athletes. However, he faded in the second, free technique portion of the race to end up in a middle of the pack in 51st place.
Quebec’s Alex Harvey, who scored a bronze medal earlier in the week, was the top Canadian with his 13th position placing.
Graham Nishikawa will be racing again later in the week as the competition continues.
Emily Nishikawa had an extremely disappointing day and wasn’t able to finish the women’s 15 km skiathlon competition due to health problems. It’s uncertain whether she will be able to compete later in the week.
Posted February 22
Johnston Goes 4 for 4
Lois Johnson, in a stellar European racing debut on the masters stage, was on the podium again today, picking up a silver medal in the 30 km classic race.
After competing in four races in the World Masters Championships in Asiago, Italy, Johston has picked up three individual medals (a gold, a silver and a bronze) plus a gold in the 4x5 km relay.
She returns to Whitehorse on Monday.
Posted February 22
Cross Country Yukon team off to Western Canadian Championships
Cross Country Yukon is sending it’s largest-ever team to the Western Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships. The races are being held Feb 22-24 in Grande Prairie, Alberta.
There was high excitement in the wax room at the Mount McIntyre Recreation Centre on Tuesday afternoon as racers prepared their skis to head off the following day. Two days of training will precede the main events.
Skiers named to the team are Yukon Elite Squad members John Parry, David Greer, Colin Abbott, Knute Johnsgard and Fabian Brook. Joining them will be younger members of the Yukon Ski Team, including females Nahanni Sagar, Cambria Fuerstner, Eliza Paul, Solstice Sarin-Toews and the male contingent comprised of Caelan Mclean, Marcus Deuling, Hudson Lucier, Simon Cash and Mac Prawdzik.
Only skiers who have the potential to finish in the top 60% of the age group in which they are competing are eligible to attend the Westerns. Normally, a maximum of 12 team members attend the Westerns. This year, because of the high number of skiers who met the eligibility requirements, two teams were formed , one comprised of the Elite Squad members, and the second comprised of Ski Team members who met qualification requirements.
On Friday, February 22, skiers will participate in sprints. Saturday, February 23 will see them participate in longer distance classic technique races and, on Sunday, they will finish off with free technique races.
The team is accompanied by coaches Nick Stratis, Jan Downing, Gerard Frostad and Amanda Deuling.
Posted February 21
More Gold for Johnson
Lois Johnson picked up her second gold medal in the World Masters Championships yesterday.
Skiing in the number 1 spot in the womens 4x5 km relay, Johnson led the Canadian women's team to a gold medal in the relay race, ahead of teams from the USA and Russia, who filled the remainder of the podium.
The four woman team skied two legs of classic, followed by 2 legs of free technique.
The event wraps up on Friday Februay 22.
Posted February 18, 2013
Master (Mistress?) of the World
Lois Johnson picked up a gold medal today at the World Masters Championships in Asiago Italy.
Skiing in the F07 category, Johnson topped the field of 24 women from around the world in a 10 km mass start classic technique race.
It's been a great event for Johnson, who also picked up a bronze medal in a 15 km free technique race on Saturday.
Posted February 3, 2013
Yukoners at Eastern Championships
The Eastern Canadian XC Ski Championships are always a huge deal, and this year was no exception, with over 550 skiers turning up for the 3 day event in Cantley, Quebec.
And of course there was a strong Yukon presence.
The event was organized as a “mini-tour”, with racers competing in three races: a 1.6 km classic technique sprint race, then a medium distance interval start skate race and finally, a classic technique distance race with a pursuit start, where the skiers hit the trails in the order of their combined times from the first two days. This makes for an exciting final day of racing as the skiers hunt each other down; the first across the line becomes the tour champion.
Emily Nishikawa was the top female. Skiing in the Open Women’s category, she started the final day with a 14 second deficit behind leader Kate Brennan from Kanata Nordic, but quickly caught her, then broke away in the last km of the 15 km race to stride to a 5 second victory. This is a great result for Nishikawa, who is prepping for the World Nordic Championships later in the month.
On the men’s side, brother Graham Nishikawa also picked up a medal, finishing 3rd over the three day meet. The men’s race turned into a mad sprint as four skiers broke away from the field early on in the 30 km race then hit the line together for a photo finish. Nishikawa’s time was only 0.8 seconds behind Jesse Cockney, the Open Men’s category winner for the tour.
Kendra Murray also had a terrific meet. Competing in the Junior Women’s category, she was only 24 seconds out of the gold medal place but brings home a silver for her efforts.
Colin Abbott, just back from the World U23 Championships had a great meet, finishing 7th overall, just ahead of David Greer, also in the top 10. Abbott particularly shone in the sprint qualifier, where he was 4th overall in the Open Men’s field, then picked up 5th place in the heats, just ahead of Knute Johnsgaard who rounded out the A final in 6th place.
Posted January 31, 2013
Another Record for Subway Ski S’Cool
The Subway Ski S’Cool just gets better and better ….and bigger and bigger.
This year, a record 245 young athletes from 6 local schools will be hitting the trails during the month of February to receive healthy doses of fun and snow.
The program was developed to introduce young Kindergarten and Grade 1 kids to the sport. They do a series of weekly lessons with experienced instructors to introduce them to basic ski skills. Each lesson runs for an hour and 15 minutes.
“We will have some kids this year who have been through the program a year ago and it’s amazing how much they retain, even if they haven’t skied since” noted Sarah Murray, the S’Cool’s manager. “Kids of this age easily pick up ski skills that will be with them for life.”
The school, operated by the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, kicks off on February 1, and runs daily for the next three weeks. It’s a great opportunity for kids who have never been exposed to the sport, with top notch instructors plus good quality equipment provided by the ski club all at a nominal cost.
It’s a hectic pace for instructors as well as students, with classes rotating through the club both morning and afternoon.
According to Murray, “It’s tiring, but the kids are having fun and so are we.”
Subway is a long standing sponsor of events and programs at the Whitehorse club.
Posted January 30, 2013
Nishikawas Take on the World
Cross Country Canada has named the team which will represent the country at the World Nordic Ski Championships to be held next month in Val di Flemme, Italy.
In an unprecedented move, two Yukon skiers were named to the 11-athlete team by Cross Country Canada.
Graham Nishikawa, who has been having a superb season, received the nod based on his two gold medals in recent NORAM selection races in Thunder Bay and Duntroon. In his last race, Nishikawa showed his dominance by throwing in a blistering first lap, then cruising for the rest of the race and still finishing with a 30 second margin over the second place finisher.
Graham is the first Yukon male skier ever to be named to the World Championships, which are second only to the Olympics in prestige in the nordic world.
On the women’s side, the selection committee’s job became difficult after Emily Nishikawa, who won the Thunder Bay NORAM race handily, woke up sick before the second of the qualifying races and wasn’t able to start.
However, Emily has also been having a great season and has been dominating the senior women’s field in NORAM distance races and therefore received the nod from Cross Country Canada to join the team. She will be the first female skier from Yukon to go to the World Championships since Lucy Steele, who last made the trip in 1997.
Both Emily and Graham are members of the Canadian National Senior Development Team and are based in Canmore, Alberta, where they train with the Alberta World Cup Academy.
Aside from being a great opportunity to match strides with the world’s best skiers, competing in the World Championships will also provide an opportunity for the athletes to qualify for the 2014 Sochi Olympic team.
Val di Flemme is located in northern Italy and has been the site of many World Cup races over the years. Races run from February 20th through to March 3rd.
Posted January 29, 2013
On-Line Registration Now Open for Buckwheat Classic
Registrations are now being accepted for the 2013 Buckwheat Ski Classic, which will be
held on the Log Cabin Ski Trails north of Skagway, Alaska on Saturday, March 23.
Registration is available online at: www.buckwheatskiclassic.com
For more information, click here.
Posted January 26, 2013
Air North Challenge Starts February 1
The Air North Challenge registration is now open. The Challenge starts February 1 and runs to February 28. Is a recreational event that encourages skiers and snowshoers to explore all or some of the Whitehorse Nordic Centre trails.
The theme this year is ‘Aviation Songs’. The challenge will be to ski the pre-recorded tracks (loops) that are named after popular songs of the last 40 years. There are nine loops that cover almost all of the groomed trail network. Skiers must complete the loops and find the title of the song that is posted along the route. Skiers will record the tune in a binder that will be kept at the Ski Base.
Air North, Yukon's Airline will provide the main draw prize for the event. Two tickets to Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary will be provided. All participants who complete the Challenge will be elgible for the prize. Draw will be held on March 2 at noon.
January 14, 2013
Successful (but cold) Sumanik Race
Day 2 of the Don Sumanik Memorial Homecoming Race ran at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Cub last Saturday at noon.
Eighty one participants registered. Unfortunately cold temperatures prevented Pee Wee and Atom classes from competing. Older age classes skied on one or two laps of a 3.75km course in freestyle technique in cool -18C conditions.
Some of the closely contested classes included Juvenile girls topped by Cambria Fuerstner in 13 minutes 31 seconds. The battle of the Hannahs took place in Midget Girls where Regan Fuerstner won in 14 minutes 41 seconds, followed closely by Hannah Deuling and Hannah Shier.
Meanwhile on the male side, Caelan McLean won the Juvenile Boys age class by one second. Caelan was just 27 seconds behind the fastest 7.5 km course time of 21 minutes 44 seconds by Fabian Brook, who was competing in the Junior Men’s category..
Elsie Sumanik presented trophies to the fastest male and female competitors for their combined Day 1 and Day 2 times. Heidi Brook and Caelan McLean were the recipients. Elsie also presented cash awards to the top junior finishers Trevor Bray and Adrienne Hynes.
January 8, 2013
Abbott Headed to World’s
Cross Country Canada has selected Whitehorse skier Colin Abbott to be part of the team representing the country in the upcoming World U23 Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic.
Abbott was named to the team following his consistent high placing in the recent Haywood NORAM races in Duntroon, Ontario. The Canadian team includes four men and four women, the best in the country for their age group.
The World U23 Championships run from January 20 to 27. Races will include a classic technique sprint, a free technique individual start race and a skiathlon. The U23 Championships run concurrently with the World Junior Championships.
January 6, 2013
Double Gold for Emily Nishikawa
The Thunder Bay Haywood NORAM three race series wrapped up on Sunday with another win for Emily Nishikawa, who has been having a stellar season.
She picked up her second gold medal of the meet in the Senior Women’s individual start 10 km free technique race on Sunday, finishing the course in 29:01, almost 20 seconds ahead of the second place finisher. The win marked her 11th NORAM victory as she cements her position as one of the country’s top distance racers.
Not normally a strong sprinter, she also picked up a bronze medal in the classic technique sprint race on Saturday.
In the Senior Men’s 15 km free technique race, brother Graham narrowly missed the podium with a fourth place finish, only one second out of the bronze medal position. The race was won by Thunder Bay home town favourite Michael Somppi. Graham Nishikawa picked up a gold in last Thursday’s skiathlon competition.
David Greer, who has also been having a strong season, once again hit the top ten in the field on Sunday.
Colin Abbott had a superb race, finishing 16th overall in the Senior Men’s group but his consistent high standing in the U23 group makes him a strong bet for selection to the Canadian team heading off the World U23 Championships later this month. The team will be announced by Cross Country Canada in the next few days.
In Saturday’s sprint race, Dahria Beatty was in the A final of the Junior Women’s group and fighting for the lead when a missed step led to a fall and a disappointing 5th place. A win would have meant automatic selection to the Canadian tea m heading off to the Czech Republic for the World Junior Championships.
On Sunday, Beatty finished in 6th place in her 10km free technique race.
The NORAM circuit now moves to the Duntroon Highlands club just north of Toronto for a pair of races on January 26 and 27. This will be the last chance for skiers in the Senior categories to show their stuff before the Canadian team is picked to go to the World Nordic Championships in Italy.
January 3, 2013
Nishikawas Dominate Day 1 of T’Bay NORAM
The Nishikawa siblings, coming off breakthrough performances in the recent World Cup races in Canmore, continued to show fine form as they won their respective categories at the Thunder Bay NORAM race today.
Graham Nishikawa, skiing in the 30 km Senior Men’s category, broke away from the pack late in the race to finish in 1:15:51, 4 seconds ahead of Kevin Sandau from Foothills Nordic in Canmore.
David Greer also made the top 10 in the Senior category, finishing 1:22 behind Nishikawa, good for 8th place.
In the Senior Women’s category, Emily Nishikawa finished the 15 km course in 45:30 , 9 seconds ahead of Nakkertok’s Alana Thomas. The victory also gives Nishikawa the lead in the overall Haywood NORAM series and she’ll wear the leader bib for her next race start.
Dahria Beatty, competing in the 10 km Junior Women’s category, placed 4th with a time of 31:41, a minute back of Frederique Vezina from the Mt Ste Anne club in Quebec.
The athletes were all competing in a skiathlon format race. A skiathlon is a mass start race with the first half of the race skied using classic technique and, after a fast equipment change with the clock still running, a skate ski component.
The Lappe Nordic Club, organizers of the Thunder Bay races, have been struggling with unseasonably low snow levels in the past weeks, but lots of shoveling by the volunteer crew made for good conditions for the racers.
The NORAM races continue with a classic technique sprint on Saturday followed by a free technique interval start distance race on Sunday.
December 31, 2012
Superb Conditions for Don Sumanik Classic Race
Long awaited warmer temperatures greeted the competitors and volunteers on Saturday the 29th of December for the annual Don Sumanik Memorial Cross Country Ski Race. Just under 60 racers hit the trails for the classic technique race, which had been postponed from 22 December due to the cold temperatures.
The style race is named in honour of the late Don Sumanik and sponsored by the Grey Mountain Lions Club. Don Sumanik was instrumental in the formative years of the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club.
The younger age categories featured strong races by Atoms Mettias Schmidt and Kate Mason, Peewees Sasha Masson and Sonjaa Schmidt and Midgets Michael Kishchuk, and Maggie Brook.
In the Women’s 5 km race Heidi Brook, Kendra Murray and Lois Johnson had the fastest times, while Adrienne Hynes and Nahanni Sagar led in the younger classes in the 5 km.
The Men’s 7.5 km race had 3 Yukon Elite Squad skiers with David Greer finishing first, followed closely by Colin Abbott and John Parry. Caelan McLean and Marcus Deuling led the way for the younger boys at that distance.
The Don Sumanik races are used by Cross Country Yukon as qualifying races to select athletes to represent the Yukon at the Western and National Championship races in 2013.
Next up for Yukon skiers is another in the national NORAM series. Athletes will be travelling to Thunder Bay, Ontario to compete in qualifiers to determine who represents Canada at the World Junior and U23 Championships.
December 18, 2012
Graham Nishikawa had the race of his life on Sunday in the final race of the three race Canmore World Cup series. He picked up 15th place in the field, only 22 seconds behind Maurice Manificat of France who outsprinted the field to take the overall win. Ivan Babikov was the top Canadian in 12th place.
Competing in a 30 km skiathlon, Nishikawa hung in with the lead pack as attack after attack was put into the field by the leaders on the Canmore hills.
The men’s skiathlon combined 15 km of classic technique racing; the men then switched skis and poles and did another 15 km of skate racing.
But Nishikawa persevered and had his best ever placing in a World Cup.
On the women’s side, Emily Nishikawa was the top Canadian of the day in a breakthrough performance. She was 34th overall on the day. The women raced 15 km.
The women’s race was dominated by Justyna Kowalczyk from Poland who broke away less than 5 km into the race and never looked back, at one point stretching her lead to almost a minute over the field.
In other women’s results, Dahria Beatty finished in 54th place in her debut skiathlon.
In other men’s results, David Greer finished in 51st place, Knute Johnsgaard was 56th and John Parry was 61st. Johnsgaard and Parry were last minute additions to the field after several Canadian team qualifiers decided to sit the race out.
December 15, 2012
World Cup Sprint Results
Two Yukoners competed in the free technique sprints at the Canmore World Cup on Saturday. Emily Nishikawa and Dahria Beatty suited up to hit the challenging 1.3 km trail, competing against the best in the world. Graham Nishikawa, who made the team selection for the race, decided to sit it out and concentrate on Sunday’s race.
The competition was intense and neither Yukoner made the cut to qualify for the quarter finals. Emily Nishikawa ended up 48th overall, Dahria Beatty 55th.
The women’s event was won by Norwegian Maiken Falla, who squeaked by Kikkan Randall from Alaska, the day’s top qualifier. Top Canadian was Chandra Crawford, who finished 6th overall. Perianne Jones narrowly missed the top ten with an 11th place finish.
On the men’s side, the story of the day for the Canadian team was Jesse Cockney from Yellowknife. Cockney came 2nd in the qualifying round, won his quarter final but made a tactical error in the semi-finals, getting boxed in and missing his chance to advance to the final. Cockney was 9th overall, just behind another Canadian. Len Valjas finished in 7th place.
The men’s race was won by Emil Joensson from Sweden.
Races continue on Sunday with a skiathlon – 15 km for the women and 30 km for the men.
December 13, 2012
Tough Start for Canmore World Cup Skiers
Almost perfect racing conditions greeted the best skiers in the world as the Canmore World Cup kicked off on Thursday with a mass start classic technique race.
First up were the women, who skied a 10 km course. The snow was fast and hard and the course, generally agreed to be one of the toughest in the world, quickly took its toll on the racers.
The field took off like a shot and quickly spread out as Pole Justyna Kowalczyk pushed the pace early in the race. After a couple of laps she took a definitive lead and finished the 10 km race in 28:54 and an 11 second margin over the next skier.
Whitehorse’s Emily Nishikawa stayed with the pack for the first couple of kilometres but then the hills and the altitude took its toll. “I’m really disappointed with my race today. My legs just weren’t there after the first few kilometres.” Nishikawa finished 48th in the 63 woman field, 3:51 off the pace. She noted that “this race is just so much tougher than the NORAM circuit. These skiers are so much faster than we see there.”
Also in the field, making her debut World Cup appearance, was Dahria Beatty, who finished in 57th place.
Next up, the men took to the field for a 15 km competition.
Once again, the field took off like a shot onto the brutal climbs that characterize the Canmore trail system. A pack formed and continual attacks by the big guns at the front dropped skier after skier.
Graham Nishikawa, skiing strongly, hung in with the main field until about halfway through the race, when he faded.
The race was eventually won by Tim Tscharnke from Germany, who stopped the clock in 41:14. Top Canadian for the day was phenom Alex Harvey in 11th place, only 20 seconds behind the leader.
Graham Nishikawa ended up in 38th place, 2:22 behind the leader.
Having a good debut race was David Greer, finishing 47th overall.
The skiers have a rest day on Friday, then hit the trails again for a 1.3 km free technique sprint race on Saturday. The series finishes off on Sunday with a skiathlon, a distance race consisting of a leg using classic technique followed by a skate leg.
December 10, 2012
Yukon Skiers at Soverign Lakes NORAM
The Sovereign Lakes Nordic Club was stop two on this season’s NORAM circuit and once again Yukon skiers showed good form.
The two race series kicked on Saturday with a mass start classic technique race, 15 km for the men and 10 km for the women.
The men’s race was won by Swede Jens Eriksson in a quick 41:53. Top ten results were posted by David Greer in 6rh place, 54 seconds back and Graham NIshikawa, 1:32 back.
On the women’s side, Brittany Webster took the top step of the podium, with a strong Dahria Beatty 41 seconds back, good for 4th place overall and a silver medal in the Junior Women’s category. Just behind was Emily Nishikawa, 5th overall.
On Sunday, the athletes put on their skate skis for an individual start race; again 15 km for the men and 10 km for the women.
The Nishikawas siblings found their stride and added a pair of golds to the family trophy room, showing that they are ready for next weekend’s World Cup races in Canmore
Not far behind Graham Nishikawa was David Greer, 40 seconds back and good for the bronze medal. Greer is having a great season and is showing that he’s set for the World Cup circuit as well.
Both Nishikawas plus David Greer and Dahria Beatty will be competing at the World Cup races in Canmore. They kick off on Thursday.
December 4, 2012
World Cup Bound
Cross Country Canada has named the team who will represent the country at the upcoming World Cup races in Canmore Alberta and four Yukon skiers have made the cut.
To nobody’s surprise, senior national team members Emily and Graham Nishikawa will be part of the team, but after posting strong performances in last weekend’s NORAM races, Dahria Beatty and David Greer have been added to the roster.
Canmore will be hosting three races: a mass start classic technique race on December 13, a free technique sprint race on December 15 and a skiathlon on December 16. The Yukoners have all been tagged to start in all three races except for David Greer, who will skip the sprint.
While both Nishikawa siblings have competed at World Cup events in the past, this will be the first opportunity for Beatty and Greer. For Beatty, it is especially significant as she is still a junior and going head to head with the best seniors in the world will be a great learning opportunity for her.
Canmore is becoming a regular stop on the World Cup circuit as Canada is now making its mark as a cross country ski powerhouse in the world.
Posted December 2, 2012
National Race Series Kicks Off
The first NORAM races of the year were held this weekend in Canmore, Alberta and of course Yukon skiers were competing.
First up was a free technique sprint race, skied on Saturday. This was hotly contested as the Swiss National Team sprint specialists showed up. And they showed their class, sweeping the men’s podium and taking the top spot in the women’s field. The Swiss skiers are in Canada getting ready for a pair of World Cup events, to be held in Quebec and in Canmore over the next two weeks.
In a surprise performance, Dahria Beatty finished 6th overall in the open women’s field. Beatty is still a junior and holding her own in a strong senior field is a major achievement.
On Sunday, the skiers donned their classic equipment and hit the trails for an individual start distance race; 10 km for the women and 15 km for the men.
Once again, the top Yukoner for the day was Dahria Beatty, this time competing in the Junior Women’s category. Beatty picked up a silver medal, 4 seconds back of Frederique Vezina from the Mont Ste Anne club in Quebec.
On the Senior Women’s side, Emily Nishikawa narrowly missed the podium with a fourth place finish, 12 seconds back of the bronze medal position. The race was won by Brittany Webster from the Highlands Trailblazers club.
Skiing in the big Senior Men’s category, David Greer picked up a third place finish, with Graham NIshikawa also making the top ten with a seventh place finish. Graeme Killick from the Ptarmigan Nordic club picked up the gold for the day.
The NORAM series moves to Sovereign Lake BC next weekend for a pair of distance races.
For full results from the Canmore races click on: :
Posted December 1, 2012
Club Members Honoured at Sport Yukon Awards Night
As always, Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club members made a strong showing at the 2012 Sport Yukon Awards night, held last Thursday evening at the Westmark Hotel
Top honours went to the Emily Nishikawa, who was named International Female Athlete of the Year for the second year in a row. Emily is a member of the senior Canadian National Ski Team, and trains full time at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
Katie Peters was named the National Female Athlete of the Year. Katie had a series of strong performances through the season in what many considered a breakthrough year for her.
A raft of skiers received Government of Yukon Awards of Excellence in recognition of podium performances at the national level. Dahria Beatty, Fabian Brook, Janelle Greer, David Greer, Knute Johnsgaard, Kendra Murray, Emily Nishikawa and Graham Nishikawa were all presented with plaques for their efforts in representing the Territory on the national scene.
Not forgetting the volunteer side of the house, four club members received Active Member Awards from the ski club.
Lorna Hutchinson was honoured as the Club Administrator of the Year for her years of tireless dedication as a board member and as a volunteer in almost every event the club organizes. Scott Fraser was given an award as the Skier of the Year, noting his ubiquitous presence on the trails. Jan Milner was recognized as the Club’s Event Volunteer of the Year for her outstanding contribution to the organization of last season’s Arctic Winter Games. And Craig Beatty was honoured as Trail Worker of the Year, recognizing his role critical role in the conception and development of recent trail additions, along with his numerous contributions to other projects and events in the past years.
Posted November 26, 2012
Important Notice to Skiers regarding Skyline Trail
The club does not have permission to use the Skyline Trail as it is currently not part of our permitted trail network.
Members are being requested not to use the trail until the WCCSC has obtained the necessary permits.
The trail will not be groomed this winter and we don't encourage members to use it.
Posted November 3, 2012
BC Skiers Vist Whitehorse
A group of elite skiers from the Callaghan Valley Training Centre in British Columbia is calling Whitehorse home this week.
The 11 strong team is in town in search of early season snow to do some intense training as they look forward to the upcoming racing season. The group will be training with the local Yukon Elite Squad.
CVTC Head Coach Chris Manhard, who is leading the athletes on the trip, said that “everyone needs a break from the monotony of training in the rain. Coming to Whitehorse gives the skiers a new and exciting venue to train at.”
Skiers will spend their time getting used to skiing on snow again after a summer spend on roller skis and doing dry land training. This is a great tune-up for the national racing calendar, which kicks off on December 1st with the first NORAM race of the season.
The group will be doing much of their skiing on the Fraser Loop, located at the top of Mt. McIntyre, which gets more early season snow, plus will do some easy skiing on the club’s lower trails, which are just starting to be packed. They also plan to do some sprint training on frozen lakes, a new experience for athletes who are used to warmer winters.
The group has two major goals for the 2012-2013 season: getting a few athletes picked for the World Junior/U23 championships, to be held in the Czech Republic in late January and doing well at the Haywood Ski Nationals, which will be on their home turf of the Whistler Olympic Park.
The Callaghan Valley is one of four national high performance development centres tasked with grooming athletes for international competition. Athletes are selected to the centres from clubs across the country.
Posted October 29, 2012
Skyline Trail Update
Club members will no doubt have heard about issues with the cutting of the Skyline trail, which links Fish Lake Road to the McIntyre Loop. This trail is still in its early stages of development.
The trail has been in the works for several years. The club’s goal is to develop a trail for early season use so that skiers will not have to drive the McIntyre Descent trail to reach early season snow (before our lower trails are skiable). The McIntyre Descent trail can often be extremely slippery and can only be driven by four wheel drive vehicles with good tires – and even then it can be difficult.
A rough route was established over the past season and this summer a volunteer crew began cutting the trail through the willows found at that elevation. Our intent was to cut a 1.5 metre wide trail so that we could then evaluate snow conditions, skiability and get enough information to then develop a work plan to finalize the trail.
The trail was sited to avoid local residents.
Under YESSA regulations, a trail 1.5 metres wide or less and cut using hand tools did not need to go through the YESSA process and did not require a permit.
Unfortunately, the club did not supervise the volunteers working on the project well enough and the trail ended up being approximately 2.5 metres in width on average, and therefore should have had a permit before any work was done.
In early October, a complaint was made about the trail width and the club immediately issued a stop work order on the trail.
A committee has been struck to look at the trail and come up with a final plan on how to develop it further, with a detailed work plan. Now that we know what the terrain is actually like, the committee will also look at grooming issues for this trail, how it will affect equipment, costs etc.
The club has had meetings with Lands Branch about this trail; we will continue to work with them to ensure that we acquire all necessary permits for future work.
Posted October 10, 2012
Chilkoot Trail and Kluane Update
Both the Chilkoot Trail National Historic Park and Kluane National Park have been impacted by recent cutbacks. For example, the shelter at Bennett Lake will be locked and closed this winter. Firewood will not be available. People can still winter camp in the area as long as they have the appropriate gear, but should contact the park office in Whitehorse before doing so. (667-3910)
The Winter Use Schedule indicating motorized and non-motorized weekends will be posted on the Chilkoot Trail website when available.
Ski trails in the area will continue to be tracked by volunteers from the Log Cabin Ski Trail Society based in Skagway. These trails are outside of the park. For more information on their condition over the winter you could contact Tim Bourcey in Skagway at 907-983-3005.
There is a new representative for skiers on the Winter Users Group for the Trail. The local branch of the Alpine Club of Canada has agreed to take on this role. If skiers who use the area in the winter have any concerns related to the schedule, or to any aspect of winter park use they should contact the Alpine Club at www.accyukon.ca.
There will be no winter staff on the Trail. There are two National Park wardens for the entire Yukon. Both are based in Haines Junction. They will try and be present at Log Cabin on non-motorized weekends to ensure compliance.
Kluane National Park ski trails will not be tracked by park staff this winter. The shelter at Kathleen Lake will not be open, and there will be no winter camping at the campsite.
If you have any questions with regard to either park contact Anne Morin at 667-3910.
Posted October 3, 2012
Monique Waterreus Award Announced
Each year, the Whitehorse Cross Country honours its top junior skier with the prestigious Monique Waterreus Award. And most years, choosing the best of a great lot is tough. But this year, the task proved impossible.
Last season, two juniors stood out from the crowd and it was impossible to separate their results.
Dahria Beatty and Janelle Greer both clocked some fantastic results last season.
Skiing in the Junior Women’s category in national and international races, sometimes one would be on the podium, sometimes the other, sometimes both.
Both skiers were chosen to represent Canada at the World Junior Championships last February in Turkey.
And both athletes have been recipients of the award in previous years – Greer in 2011 and Beatty in 2010.
“Trying to pick one skier is always tough,” noted incoming club president Anne Kennedy. “We have had such a great depth of field for the last few years that the decision is getting harder and harder. It’s a great problem to have as a club.”
The two skiers train full time, living in Canmore and training at the Alberta World Cup Academy.
The award, which comes with a $200 cheque to help the athletes with their training expenses, was presented at the ski club’s Annual General Meeting, held on October 3. Yukon Ski Team head coach Alain Masson made the presentation.
Ski Club Names New Board
The Ski Club has a new board of directors.
Elected at the October 3 Annual General Meeting were:
President Anne Kennedy
Vice President Bill Curtis
Secretary Craig Thur
Treasurer Ian Robinson
Directors Pippa Lawson
Tom Ullyett, last year's president, will continue to sit on the board in the Past President position.
The board gave its thanks to retiring members Sue Meikle and Lorna Hutchinson, both of whom have given long and stellar service to the club.
Posted September 6, 2012
Fall Trail Work
There will not be any organized work parties this year. Volunteers are encouraged to work on the trails until the snow flies.
Hand tools are available at all tiimes and some power tools are available by arrangement. E-mail the club (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone the club office at 668-4477 for more information.
The two jobs that are really important, and almost anybody can do: brushing and limbing.
When brushing trails, cut all willows that are within a metre of the trail surface. This will prevent the problem of brush leaning onto the trail as the snowload increases. Limbing trees as high as you can reach, is useful because it allows more snow to fall on the trail surface and in higher snow years, it ensures that groomers will not bump their heads on branches.
Trails most in need of this work are Copper beyond Crossroads, Lower Valley between Beaver Swamp and Ascent Trail. However, all trails need work as the willows grow back every year.
The club will rent a tractor again in September and most trails will be mowed with a brush cutter. Volunteers are welcome to sign up to drive the tractor. Experience with tractors is required.