Yukon Ski Team speeds into new NorAm season

The Yukon Ski Team wasted no time in securing hardware on the Haywood NorAm circuit last weekend.

The Yukon Ski Team wasted no time in securing hardware on the Haywood NorAm circuit last weekend.

In the cross-country ski team’s first trip of the season, Yukon skiers produced five podium finishes, including one in the aggregate standings, at a multi-stage mini-tour NorAm event in Rossland, B.C.

Yukon’s Hannah Deuling took silver in the junior girls aggregate standings after the three races. Teammates Mira Mason, Amanda Thomson and Hannah Jirousek placed fourth, fifth and seventh respectively in the same division.

Yukoners Caelan Pangman McLean and Michael Kishchuk placed fourth and 18th respectively in the junior men aggregate standings.

Whitehorse’s Natalie Hynes was the first from the team to climb the podium in Rossland, winning bronze in the junior women’s 10-kilometre free on Friday, finishing in 33 minutes and 57.2 seconds, just over a minute behind the winner.

Hynes went on to win gold in the junior women’s 10-kilometre classic on Sunday at 37:07.4.

Hynes and Yukon teammate Marcus Deuling did not register in the aggregate standings since the two of them, who also ski for the University of Alaska Anchorage, decided to skip Saturday’s Buff sprint races.

“They finished their exams on Wednesday and got there Thursday night, so they only wanted to do tour races,” said Yukon Ski Team head coach Alain Masson. “They were exhausted and didn’t want to do all three races … so that made them ineligible for the overall (standings).”

McLean opened the tour with fifth in the junior men’s 15-kilometre free Friday and ninth in Saturday’s sprints.

He capped the weekend with silver in the junior men’s 15-kilometre free with a time of 46:52.7, only 22.8 seconds behind the winner.

“That was one of his best races in years,” said Masson. “He raced well in the skating and the sprint, but raced exceptionally well Sunday. So it looks good for the (world junior) trails coming up in two weeks.”

Hannah Deuling finished the mini-tour with bronze in the junior women’s 10-kilometre on Sunday, clocking a time of 39:50.4.

“Natalie Hynes raced really well, so that was nice to see, and Hannah Deuling — it was a great start,” said Masson.

“The rest of the team performed well. A lot of them raced in older categories; some of our junior girls raced in junior women. So it was more competitive for them and a good experience for them.

“It was a good start, so we’re looking forward to the next few events.”

There are a indeed a couple of big events coming up.

The world junior/U23 trials will take place January 7-10 in Utah, which will also be the location for the 2017 Nordic Junior/U23 World Ski Championships beginning at the end of January. All of the above Yukon skiers will compete at the event, Cross Country Yukon (CCY) announced Thursday.

Thomson, Mason, McLean, Kischuk, both Deulings, and Yukon teammates Sonjaa Schmidt, Ben Puskas, Nichollis Schmidt, Victor Thibeault, Sasha Masson and Romeo Champagne will compete at the Eastern Canadian Cross Country Ski Championships early February in Cantley, Que., CCY also announced.

Hynes was one of two Yukoners to represent Canada at last year’s junior/U23 worlds in Romania, producing two top-60 finishes in the junior girls division. She also won two gold and a silver, culminating in first place in the Year of Birth aggregate standings for girls born in 1998, at the Haywood Ski Nationals last March.

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com