More than 230 skiers raced along the trails at Log Cabin, B.C. on March 11 in the 2023 Buckwheat International Ski Classic.
The event marked a return of the larger race format after COVID-19 took a toll on the festivities in recent years. 2022 saw a scaled-back version of the races held on the Log Cabin Ski Trails, which are located about 10 kilometers north of Fraser, British Columbia on the Skagway Road.
Competitors raced in male and female categories for distances of 32, 16 and 10 kilometers. For those aged 12 and under, five-kilometer races were held with categories of male and female, ages 11 and 12, and 10 and under.
Adding to the fun was the Pure Ski Magination theme centre around the 1964 Roald Dahl children’s novel Charlie & the Chocolate Factory with competitors not only putting their best ski forward in their races, but also dressing up for the occasion.
Cole Digel won the award for best costume, skiing a full 32 kilometres as the Everlasting Gobstopper. A number of other awards were also handed out.
Sam Best took the Des Duncan Award awarded to an outstanding volunteer for his work grooming the Log Cabin trails, while John Hinrichs won the John Briner Award, an honour that recognizes enthusiasm and commitment to the Buckwheat. Hinrichs is a former Log Cabin Ski Society board member who travelled from his new home in Washington state to help out with the races. Sophie Schindler was named Ms. Buckwheat and Jill Pangman of Whitehorse was the Log Cabin Ski Society member to win a pair of skis.
While the majority of skiers came from Whitehorse, Alaskan skiers were also well represented. Charlie Thoret of Autrans-Méaudre en Vercors in France took the 10 km male category with a time of 35:26.
His closest competitors were Heron Land-Gillise and Nicholas Connell, both of Whitehorse, who came in with times of 39:18 and 41:38 respectively in the field of 39 skiers who finished the race.
In the female 10 km category, Kate Schwarting of Juneau finished first with a time of 48:06. Behind her was Diane Wilson of Whitehorse at 52:27 and Iris White of Juneau at 55:07 in a field of 73 who finished that race.
The longest race at 32 km saw Whitehorse dominate the top standings. In the male category, Caelan Pangman McLean finished first at 1:52:29, with Matthias Purdon coming in close behind at 1:52:34. Riel Allain finished third with a time of 1:56:11 in a field of 31 who finished the race.
On the female side, Emilie Stewart took first with a time of 2:08:01 with Adrienne Dunbar following in second at 2:21:04 and Jane Hollenberg in third with a time of 2:26:19. A total of 16 finished the race.
Meanwhile, Juneau skiers came out on top in the 16 km race with Finnegan Lamb taking the male category with a time of 1:05:45 and Maisy Morley taking first in the female category with a time of 1:10:21.
In second place on the male side was Leif St. Clair also of Juneau with a time of 1:08:31, while Gerard Frostad of Whitehorse finished third at 1:10:44 in a field of 29 skiers who finished the race.
On the female side Shannon O’Donovan placed second with a time of 1:28:43, while Erin Oliver-Beebe followed in third with a time of 1:31:12. Both women are from Whitehorse and were skiing in a field of 32 who finished the race.
The smallest groups were in the 11-12 year old categories with five skiers racing in the male category and four in the female. All finished their five km races with Sitka Land-Gillis of Whitehorse taking first in the male category with a time of 24:54, while Emily Kralisch-Seguin of Whitehorse took first in the female category with a time of 28:08.
In second and third place for the males was Seamus Zirnhelt of Whitehorse at 33:09, followed by Bay White of Juneau with a time of 38:39. Tommy McConnell of Whitehorse came in with a time of 53:04, while Ethan Buchheit of Juneau finished at 1:18:34.
In the female category, Juneau skiers Cora Soboleff and Sevyn Jefferys finished second and third with times of 52:58 and 53:08 respectively. Lilija Reid of Whitehorse finished with a time of 1:23:58.
Meanwhile, the youngest category saw skiers 10 and under take on the five km event as well.
Erik Embacher came out on top with the fastest time of 24:55 in the male category, followed by Samuel Pearce at 34:15 and Aiden Donohue at 35:54. All three are from Whitehorse and competed in a field of 15 skiers who finished the race.
On the female side Mya Donahue took first at 36:50 with Elly Murphy-Campbell placing second at 42:41 and Maggie Jane MacDonald coming in third at 47:38. The three skiers are also all from Whitehorse and skied in a field of six who finished the race.
After the races, many skiers enjoyed drinks and some eats with a number from the youngest categories opting to climb the snow fort built for the occasion.
Contact Stephanie Waddell at email@example.com