Yukon will field its largest alpine ski team in eight years at the Arctic Winter Games this March.
Eleven skiers will take to the slopes in Fairbanks, Alaska, up from eight at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse.
Among those named to the team at the start of the week are five returners from 2012.
All three junior female skiers – Abby Hawes, Josie Storey and Tayler Mitchell – competed in 2012.
Hawes and Storey also raced at the 2010 Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta, requiring special permission to compete while just 11 years old.
Liam Diamond, Manas Sarin-Toews and Zakary Endress will ski in junior male. Charlie Hawes, Angus Endress and Shane Orban will race in juvenile male. Katie Vowk and Samantha Richardson were selected for juvenile women following team trials at Mount Sima on Jan. 18.
Charlie Hawes and Richardson are the other two returners to the team.
“We have a blend of new members and returning members and the returning members are helping the new members,” said head coach Yves Titley. “Zakery Endress and Angus Endress are not part of the (Alpine Yukon) race team, but they made the team for the Arctic Winter Games, so they will be included in our training this coming Saturday. Shane Orban and Katie Vowk have been members of the race team for a number of years.
“Charlie Hawes and Shane Orban are one year under age, so they were granted permission by their parents and also Sport Yukon to compete at the Arctic Winter Games.
“Manas Sarin-Toews is also born 2001, just a year shy of juvenile, but they allowed him in junior male, same thing as Liam Diamond,” added Titley. “It gives the opportunity to the younger age group to participate in the Games. It’s not like hockey – it’s not a contact sport – they are racing against a time, so it’s safe even if they are underage.”
Storey was the only Yukon skier to win a medal individually at the 2012 Games, claiming silver in the dual slalom. She also posted two fourth-place finishes.
Storey’s medal was the first won by the Yukon in alpine skiing since the 2006 Games.
Abby Hawes had the fastest overall combined time in the two events in the team trials with Storey a few second behind.
Storey and Abby had the fastest overall times at the Yukon Cup, the territory’s alpine ski championship, last season. Abby had the fastest time of any skier in the giant slalom, while Storey had the fastest overall time in the slalom event at the Cup.
Abby, Storey and Orban all produced top-10 finishes at the Teck Kootenay Zone B.C. Alpine event in Fernie, B.C. earlier this month.
Despite not fielding any skiers in the junior male division at the 2012 Games, the Yukon team accumulated enough points to take bronze in the team event. It was the first time in Games history the Yukon won a team medal in alpine.
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