Alissa Russell skates during the Arctic Winter Games trials at the Canada Games Centre on Dec. 9. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Arctic Winter Games figure skating team decided at Yukon Gold Nugget Championships

‘It was a nice thing to be able to do it at home the first time because it’s not nearly as frightening’

The Arctic Edge Skating Club had a busy weekend, hosting not only the Yukon Gold Nugget Championships and Arctic Winter Games trials on Dec. 9, but also the Canada 150 Skate Day on Dec. 10.

Stacey Hays, co-chair of Arctic Edge, said the weekend was busy and skaters enjoyed the chance to skate in front of the hometown crowd.

“It’s always nice for them to have an opportunity to showcase what they’ve been working on,” said Hays. “This [event] is always exciting for them and sort of a highlight.”

Saturday’s Arctic Winter Games trials finalized the eight-person team set to compete in Fort Smith, N.W.T.

Figure skating is divided into three levels, and the Yukon will send two level one skaters, three level two skaters and three level three skaters.

Anika Kramer and Chloe Van Lankveld will skate in the level one competition, with Ada Stehelin named as the alternate.

In the level two competition, Bronwyn Hays, Mikayla McCain and Sarah Milton will compete.

The Yukon’s representatives for level three will be Alissa Russell, Jamie Nickel and Lenneah Timmermans.

Although the Yukon Gold Nugget Championships is much smaller than similar competitions in B.C., the absence of visiting clubs pared down the field more than usual.

A team of skaters has travelled from Juneau to compete regularly for the last few years but was unable to attend this year.

Inuvik has also sent skaters to the competition in the past. The closure of the skating club in Inuvik for this season meant no skaters made the trip south to Whitehorse.

“It was smaller than last year, actually the last three years, because we had no visiting clubs,” said Hays, adding that the club here is growing.

“We’re getting more skaters, so although the competition was smaller this year because it was just our club, there were more junior-level skaters than we have had in a couple of years,” said Hays. “That was encouraging to see.”

Hays said this weekend was the first time some of the skaters got to experience the competition atmosphere and setting.

“We had a couple [skaters] that had been in competition just demonstrating their elements, but never actually skated a program in a competition,” said Hays.

Many of the competitions Whitehorse skaters attend in B.C. have between 700 and 800 registered skaters, something Hays said can be overwhelming.

“It was a nice thing to be able to do it at home the first time because it’s not nearly as frightening.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at


John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News Jamie Nickel will join the Team Yukon contingent for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games.

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