Yukon skiers compete here, there and everywhere

It was a busy weekend for Cross-Country Yukon as the territory was represented at a local meet, an Eastern Canadian meet and an international meet in France. Starting with racers competing on the world stage, siblings Janelle...

It was a busy weekend for Cross-Country Yukon as the territory was represented at a local meet, an Eastern Canadian meet and an international meet in France.

Starting with racers competing on the world stage, siblings Janelle and David Greer have completed their first races at the World Junior Cross Country Ski Championships in Praz de Lys, France.

Competing against a field of skiers mostly two or three years older than herself, Janelle, 16, finished 34th in a 1.3-kilometre classic sprint—a benchmark for the territory.

“Put into historical perspective, that’s probably one of the best Yukon results at a World Juniors ever for that age by far,” said Team Yukon coach Alain Masson. “Maybe for all the Yukon skiers who ever represented Canada at the World Juniors, this would be the second-best result.

“So it’s very significant for Janelle.”

Racing in a 10-kilometre pursuit Tuesday morning, Janelle again finished in the middle of the field, taking 37th out of a field of 70. Janelle was the first Canadian over the line and only the second of her age.

Brother David also provided a strong start at the championships, finishing 25th in the 20-kilometre pursuit Monday.

“That was his first race ever at the World Junior Championships and that was a good result for David,” said Masson.

Racing in the Eastern Canadian Championships in Gatineau, Quebec, Yukoner Colin Abbott, who is attending Carlton University in Ottawa, took a podium spot. Racing as part of a team called XC Ottawa, he finished a 20-kilometre classic in 1:04:12, earning him a bronze in the junior men’s division and a 5th overall in the Open Men’s division.

Moving closer to home, after two postponements since its original December 27 start date because of cold weather, the 26th annual Don Sumanik Memorial Homecoming Race was held at Mount MacIntyre Saturday.

The event, which was hosted by the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club, is intended to provide racing opportunities for college students home for the holidays. However, its postponements opened the door for younger competitors.

Knute Johnsgaard, 16, outpaced second-place Logan Potter and third-place Jeff Wood to win the open men’s 10-kilometre freestyle event. Having finished fourth in the open men’s 10-kilometre classic on the first day of the event in late December, Johnsgaard was also was awarded the event’s Open Male trophy.

“It was great to see Knute race so well,” said Masson. “He has had an amazing progression this year from last year.

“I think in his age group at the National Championships he’ll be very competitive, so it’ll be interesting when we go to the Nationals in Ontario (starting March 8).”

In the open women’s division, Heidi Brook won the 6.6-kilometre freestyle simply by finishing—she was the race’s lone competitor. Combined with a fourth-place finish in December, Brook took the Open Women’s trophy.

Other freestyle winners include Izak Baril-Blouin in juvenile boys and Dahria Beatty in juvenile girls. In peewee, Liam Mather took the top spot for the boys and Hannah Jirousek for the girls. For the midget division, Trevor Bray took gold in the boys and Emily Wilson in the girls. In the next division down, the mini-midget, Caelan McLean grabbed the top spot for the boys and Cambria Fuerstner for the girls.

Finally, in the atoms division, Adam Hynes came first, just ahead of Sasha Masson.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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