Yukon alpine skier Raissa Anderson turned heads last weekend during a BC national points race slalom event at Silver Star resort near Vernon, BC.
The 16-year old grabbed silver in a two-run, combined-time race in less than ideal conditions.
“It was a pretty rough day up there, you couldn’t see much,” said Anderson during practice at Mount Sima on Sunday.
“It was a decent race for me, I put down two good runs,” said Anderson. “The first was good to start with, and in the next race I managed to hold on to second place.”
It was the top Yukon finish and was unexpected for both Anderson and Alpine head coach Dick Eastmure.
Anderson decided to return to competitive alpine racing this season, after taking last year off to focus on soccer and music.
It seems like the decision’s paying off.
“Raissa’s been a surprise for me this season,” said Eastmure. “Her learning curve is so steep right now, she’s getting better with almost every run.”
Eastmure added that Anderson missed out on a lot of development last season, but she’s bouncing back very quickly.
“It has a lot to do with her determination and her conditioning. She’s quite strong and certainly has the goods to be a great alpine ski racer,” he said.
With the slalom silver, Eastmure decided to try and get Anderson on the Canada Winter Games team, making her the only Yukon female in contention.
“Judging on what she’s done this year, and the kind of shape she’s in, and the fact that she’s really coming along quickly, we thought we should give her a shot at it,” said Eastmure.
Adding Anderson at the last minute isn’t 100 per cent, because of application deadlines, but Eastmure is confident she’ll be racing at the Games.
For her part, Anderson doesn’t seem to be stressing about her races at the Games.
“I really want to get some good skiing in and meet a lot of the athletes that are here from all over Canada,” she said. “I just want to have fun. It’s a great experience, to have the Games here — that won’t happen very often.”
Teammate and alpine medal hopeful Sammy Kent is back on skis after a bad crash during a training run at his first NORAM race at Lake Louise two weeks before Christmas.
“It was a pretty bad crash, he went through a couple of fences, going about 120 kilometres per hour,” said Eastmure. “He got pretty bruised up and sprained his ankle, but no ligament injuries and no broken bones.”
Eastmure said Kent is doing some light skiing right now, and should be good to go by Games time.
The Alpine race team is rounded out by Matthew Wolsynuk and 15-year-old under age competitor Derek Wilson.