Alpine ski team carved out, pending approval

Yves Titley, head coach of the Alpine Ski Association of Yukon and Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games alpine team, is happy with the calibre of skiing he saw on Saturday at Mt. Sima.

Yves Titley, head coach of the Alpine Ski Association of Yukon and Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games alpine team, is happy with the calibre of skiing he saw on Saturday at Mt. Sima.

In total, 13 skiers vied for spots on the Games team.

“Overall, I’m very pleased,” said Titley. “I’ve seen excellence today that I haven’t seen since December, so I think we’ll do really well at the Arctic Winter Games.

“That will be a nice experience for those kids.”

Team Yukon executives made their final selections Saturday after putting the skiers through giant slalom and slalom courses, averaging out their times to determine placements.

However, there is a catch. Since only two skiers meet the age categories, Team Yukon will have to gain approval from Sport Yukon to send younger skiers to compete in older divisions.

“If we don’t have any juniors, we can send some kids at a younger age to represent in the junior class,” said Titley. “It’s not a contact sport, so it’s safe to have somebody younger participate.

“We just have to wait for Sport Yukon to accept having underage kids, which they’ve always done.”

Coming in with the fastest overall time was Sam Storey, 12, earning a spot on the team in the juvenile men division.

“It’s awesome – it’s a great opportunity to be a better skier,” said Storey.

“The giant slalom was awesome, but the slalom, near the end, was icy. But overall, it was pretty good. The snow conditions were pretty good.

“Thanks to the coaches and all the volunteers.”

Last season, Storey took third in a slalom race in the Eaglecrest Challenge Juneau and produced a sixth-place finish in a giant slalom event in the K1/K2 BC Zone Races in Terrace, BC.

Joining Storey in the juvenile division is Michael Hougen, one of the two skiers who fit into the age division. Hougen came fifth in the slalom event in Juneau last season.

Giving the fastest overall performance in the slalom event was Kate Mitchell, 13, putting her on the team in the juvenile women division.

“Today was a thrill,” said Mitchell. “Ever since I was in Grade 3 I’ve wanted to go to the Arctic (Winter Games). I’ve loved skiing, starting when I was three. So that was my goal and I’m finally here, I guess.”

In Terrace, Mitchell skied to a second-place finish in the giant slalom and seventh in Juneau in the slalom.

Also making the cut for juvenile women were Josie Storey, who had the fastest averaged time for women on Saturday, and Abby Hawes.

Making the team for the junior women category were Tayler Mitchell and Lyndsey Boorse. In Terrace last year, Tayler came fourth in the giant slalom and eighth place in the slalom event in Juneau.

Team Yukon will not be sending any alpine skiers in the junior men’s division.

“They all skied well today,” said Titley. “I’ve been following those kids for the last two years – some are new – but I saw today that they gave 110 per cent. I was so pleased to see them come down.

“I wish everyone could come (to the Games).”

To help prepare for the Arctic Games most of the selected skiers will be heading to Fernie, BC, for an event January 23 and 24. The following weekend they will be back at Mt. Sima for another event.

“Now there is a commitment, they have to train on a regular basis, every weekend,” said Titley. “Also we have races they have to attend, so it’s very clear-cut.

“This is just the beginning, heading towards the Arctic Winter Games.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com