“Wild abandon” sums up the Yukon Alpine Ski Team’s race strategy at a recent competition.
“We can all go down the course in a snowplow (position) and we can make it, but we won’t win,” noted head coach Yves Titley. “So you go full-out and hope for this best.”
Competing at the BC North Zone Alpine Finals in Smithers, BC, over the weekend, seven Yukon skiers carved out a total of seven medals.
“It was beautiful conditions, but a little icy, so a lot of skiers didn’t make the finish line,” said Titley. “It was a tough course.”
K1 skier Abby Hawes had the most productive trip, in terms of medals. The 12-year-old, who represented the Yukon at the Arctic Winter Games last year, won gold in the giant slalom and two silvers in two other slalom races.
“She skied like she usually skis,” said Titley. “Although it was an icy course, she held on quite well. A lot of the skiers from other teams wiped out.”
Yukon teammate Tayler Mitchell also made three trips to the podium, in the girls’ K1 division, winning silver in the giant slalom and bronzes in the two slalom events.
“She was aggressive all the way down,” said Titley. “She skied what she needed to ski on ice and hardpack and that was an excellent run. All her runs were excellent.”
Sister Katelynn Mitchell, racing in the K2 division, snatched fifth in the giant slalom while teammate Lyndsey Boorse went one better in the K1 event, taking fourth.
“She went full out every race,” said Titley of Boorse. “She clipped gates in both the slalom events, and part of the reason was she was going full out. When you go full out, that’s something that can happen.”
With a couple clipped gates, Boorse was disqualified from the two other slalom events.
“Everybody did very well, they pushed all the way out,” said Titley. “You go all out, and if you clip a gate, it’s all over.”
Yukon’s Katie Vowk, in her first races outside of the Yukon, skiing in the E2 division (“entry level”), won a silver in the giant slalom.
“She did incredible – she had good runs,” said Titley.
Yukon’s Marek Henderson-Pekarik, had a consistent showing in E2, taking fourth in the giant slalom and fifth in the slalom.
Also in Smithers from the Yukon was E1 skier Charlie Hawes, 10, who went as a course forerunner.
“He was a forerunner, but he impressed a lot of people from Terrace, Prince George and also Smithers,” said Titley. “Everyone was asking who that guy was.”
Yukon’s Josie Storey, 12, who could have attended the event, had enough race points to instead compete at this weekend’s Whistler Cup in Whistler, BC, featuring skiers from 25 countries.
“This is an international race, so it’s quite exciting,” said Titley. “It would have been nice to have her in Smithers, but we came back Monday and she was leaving (Wednesday) morning. While we brought back medals from Smithers, we’re now cheering for Josie to do her best at the Whistler Cup.”
Storey represented the Yukon at last year’s Arctic Games in Grande Prairie, Alberta, taking in three top-10 results in the juvenile female category.
Contact Tom Patrick at firstname.lastname@example.org