Grande Prairie, Alberta
With every competitor wearing identical, traditionally style snowshoes made from wood and gut, there are few advantages to be had.
However, when Yukoners they say it’s a level playing field, they could be speaking figuratively about the equipment, or literally about the terrain.
“It’s different from Whitehorse because there’s no hills anywhere,” said Yukon’s Logan Roots, at the Arctic Winter Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta. “I think the biggest elevation change we had was about three feet.”
“One of my friends said the biggest elevation changes was when you sank into the snow,” said Yukon’s Kieran Halliday.
Perhaps slightly out of their element on the flat prairie lands, Yukoners were still raking in the medals this week.
Competing in the juvenile male division, Halliday has three times graced the top podium step in the first two days of competition, taking gold in the 2.5-kilometre race Monday and in the sprint series and 4×400 relay with teammates Sara Burke-Forsyth, Aiden Bradley and Galena Roots on Wednesday. Running in the anchor position on the team, Halliday closed a 40-metre gap after the final handoff for the gold.
Logan Roots has also gotten familiar with the podium steps this week, winning silver in the junior male five-kilometre race Monday and gold in the sprint series Wednesday.
Having taken gold in all his events at the 2008 Games in Yellowknife, Logan was a little disappointed to have the streak end on Monday.
“It was kind of expected because that was the first I saw snowshoes this year, so it was more of a training thing,” said Logan. “But, yeah, I was a little disappointed.
“The guy who beat me on Monday was at the last (Arctic Games) as well and was always close in every race. So it was good to be running with him for the most part and he just pulled away at the end.”
Like Logan, Sara Burke-Forsythe was just one spot out of a perfect record in her events, winning two golds and a silver in the juvenile female division this week.
Her gold medal in the juvenile female 2.5-kilometre race is foremost in Burke-Forsythe’s mind because it was a perfect example of friendly competition.
“My friend from the Alaska team and I were really close and we started talking a little right before the end and what we said was, ‘Whoever gets first, I’m going to give you a hug at the end,’” said Burke-Forsythe. “It’s so much fun. Meeting people and making friends with people that you’ll probably never see again unless they go to the next Arctic Games.”
Burke-Forsythe outpaced Alaska’s Amalia Tamone by less than half a second for the win. Galena Roots took bronze, just three second back from Tamone, and also grabbed bronze in the sprint series Wednesday.
Other finishes by Yukoners include Bradley winning bronze in the 2.5-kilometre juvenile male race, Benoit Latour coming eighth in the five-kilometre junior male race, and Dynes Nahanni and Chelsea Charlie coming fourth and seventh respectively in the five-kilometre junior female race.
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