The Yukon Alpine Ski Team got some race experience last weekend, just in time for the Arctic Winter Games trials this weekend.
Eight team skiers competed at the Teck Kootenay Zone B.C. Alpine event in Fernie, and raced in giant slalom on Friday and slalom Saturday and Sunday.
The team’s first trip of the season generated three top-10 finishes, but getting race exposure was just as important, said Yukon team head coach Yves Titley.
“So they all have experience with other kids – there was about 123 racers,” said Titley. “It gave them a little boost. They know where they’re standing, they know what they need to train on.”
Though Yukon’s four under-16 females failed to register a placing in Saturday’s slalom, either not finishing or getting disqualified, they also produced some of the team’s best results in other races in Fernie.
Yukon’s Abby Hawes bounced back from Saturday with a sixth place finish in Sunday’s two-run slalom event. Hawes also placed 14th in Friday’s giant slalom.
Teammate Josie Storey also got into the single digits with ninth in Friday’s giant slalom in U16 girls.
Yukon’s Tayler Mitchell raced to 13th in Sunday’s slalom and 17th in Friday’s giant slalom in U16 girls.
Samantha Richardson, who was racing out of Yukon for the first time with the team, sped to 20th in Friday’s giant slalom.
“We had a few top-15 and top-10 for the girls, so I’m quite pleased,” said Titley.
Yukon’s Shane Orban carved up some consistent results in U14 boys.
He cut through strong winds to place 10th in his first run in Sunday’s slalom and then went a little faster in his second run of the day to take ninth.
Orban also placed 13th in both giant slalom races Friday and was 13th in his second run in Saturday’s slalom.
“He was improving his time in treacherous, abominable conditions because it was raining on Saturday,” said Titley. “On Sunday there were 100-kilometre winds right in the face…. I was on the course and you could see their speeds slowing down because the wind was blowing so hard.”
U14 boys teammate Charlie Hawes tied Orban with 13th in the giant slalom. He also skied to 12th in his second run in Saturday’s slalom.
Yukon’s Manas Sarin-Toews cracked the top-20 with 19th in Sunday’s slalom. He also took three 22nd-place finishes over the weekend in U14 boys.
“The U14 boys did quite well,” said Titley. “Charlie, Shane and Manas were born in 2001, so this is their first year in U14. So what I was looking for them was to get the experience.”
The Yukon team’s newest member, Grace-Anne Janssen, also competed in Fernie in U14 girls. Janssen took 25th out of 27 both runs in Friday’s giant slalom.
“That was her first time racing (with the team). She’s raced in the Yukon Cup once, but she just joined the team,” said Titley. “She just joined the team at the end of December, early January. So she didn’t have very much training.
“Essentially, I was quite pleased with her results.”
Alpine Yukon’s Arctic Winter Games trials will take place on Saturday at Mount Sima.
If Storey makes the team, it will be her third time at the Arctics. She won a silver medal at the 2012 Games for Yukon’s first medal in alpine skiing since the 2006 Arctic Games.
Storey and Abby Hawes 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.
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