Beatty golden in first NorAm

It was a weekend of firsts for Whitehorse's Dahria Beatty - in more ways than one. Not only did Beatty compete in her first set of NorAm Canada Cup Race Series events, racing in her first ever 10-kilometre on Saturday,

It was a weekend of firsts for Whitehorse’s Dahria Beatty – in more ways than one.

Not only did Beatty compete in her first set of NorAm Canada Cup Race Series events, racing in her first ever 10-kilometre on Saturday, she took home a first-place finish in the 1.1-kilometre sprint on Sunday at Sovereign Lakes, BC.

Making her results all the more impressive, Beatty, 15, was racing up a category in the junior female division against skiers four and five years older.

“I went into it not expecting anything and not knowing what to expect,” said Beatty. “I was surprised with how well I did.”

Taking silver in the sprint was Whitehorse’s Janelle Greer, 16, a junior national team member, who also finished 10th in Saturday’s race.

In the 10-kilometre free technique event, Beatty skied to a bronze, finishing in just over 33 minutes. The race used an individual start system, making it difficult for Beatty to know where she stood in the standings as the race played out.

“While I was racing, my coach would sometimes give me splits (time and placement updates), but you are kind racing your own race and you can’t tell how other people are doing,” said Beatty. “It was the first time I raced a 10-kilometre (race) so I tried not to go out too hard, so I’d still have energy left for my second lap.

“I thought I did a good job at pacing myself. I think I pushed myself pretty hard. The course had a lot of climbing in it, so it was a difficult course.”

For Yukon’s Olympic hopeful, Graham Nishikawa, 26, it was a disappointing weekend. Competing in a 15-kilometre skate on Saturday, Nishikawa came 10th overall and was the fourth Canadian.

“It was actually a pretty big disappointment for me,” said Nishikawa. “I was the top-ranked skier going into the race and if I had been the top Canadian, then I would be going to the Olympics.”

If Nishikawa wants to keep the Olympic dream alive, he will have to step things up next Tuesday in Canmore. BC.

“Obviously I’m disappointed, but there’s a another race coming up here in Canmore and the same thing goes: if I’m the top Canada, then I’ll go to the Olympics,” said Nishikawa.

“It’s pretty simple, but it’s a daunting task at the same time.”

Tuesday’s race is a 50-kilometre classic technique, the longest race in cross-country skiing, which suits Nishikawa’s long-distance temperament.

“You don’t know what’s going to happen because it’s such a long race and sometimes you can lose all your energy and other times you have great races,” said Nishikawa. “I’m pretty confident still – I have a full week to prepare for it. I just had a really terrible day (on Saturday).”

To start the season, Nishikawa competed in World Cup events in Norway, Finland, and the Scandinavian Cup in Sweden, producing his best result, a 15th-place finish out of 142 world class skiers in the 15-kilometre skate.

However, the European races had an impact on the Olympic trial races, keeping sharp his competitive edge while having to cope with a change in altitude.

“I just came from Europe and it was low altitude there. So we came to Silver Star (in Sovereign Lakes) just before the races and my body just wasn’t racing at its top speed,” said Nishikawa. “It felt really hard – the altitude affected my performance.”

Another strong results came from Whitehorse’s Colin Abbott, a junior national team member, who took fifth in the sprint in the junior male division on Sunday, a large improvement from his 25th-place result in the 15-kilometre skate the previous day.

“It is very good considering Colin is attending university in Ottawa and I think he only skied three times on snow prior to the weekend because they haven’t had any snow back east,” said Team Yukon head coach Alain Masson. “I think he was feeling a bit tired after exams at university and quite a huge amount of training this fall.”

For Yukon’s other junior male skiers, Jeff Wood came 23 in both races while Knute Johnsgaard was 11th the 10-kilometre and 24th in the sprint.

“For his first race at that level – he’s quite young for that category – he was quite happy with his results,” said Masson of the 17-year-old Johnsgaard.

In the senior (or open) males division, David Greer was 16th in the 15-kilometre skate and 14th for the sprint and Emily Nishikawa was 28th in the 10-kilometre skate and 31 in the sprint for senior women.

Representing the territory in the junior female division, Kendra Murray was 19th in the 10-kilometre skate and 18th in the sprint, followed closely by teammate Heidi Brook, who came 20th in the sprint.

Beatty started her season by winning her category in both Don Sumanik Memorial races in Whitehorse. At the Haywood Ski Nationals in March, Beatty won two gold medals, a silver and a bronze in the juvenile girls category. The previous month at the Western Canadian Championships, Beatty skied to two gold medals.

At the end of November she was named Territorial/National Female Athlete of the Year.

Contact Tom Patrick at

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Team Yukon skip Laura Eby, left, directs her team as Team Northern Ontario skip Krysta Burns looks on at the Scotties Tournament of Hearts in Calgary on Feb. 22. (Jeff McIntosh/CP)
Team Yukon reports positive experience at Scotties

Team Yukon played their final game at the national championship in Calgary on Thursday afternoon

A sign indicating a drop-off area behind Selkirk Elementary school in Whitehorse on Feb. 25. (Haley Ritchie/Yukon News)
Parking lot proposal for Selkirk Elementary criticized

Parents and school council are raising concerns about green space and traffic woes


Wyatt’s World for Feb. 26, 2021

Josi Leideritz, the executive director for the Yukon Quest International Association (Canada), poses for a photo in Whitehorse on Oct.1, 2020. The Quest announced plans for its 2022 race to start in Fairbanks on Feb. 5. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
2022 Quest planning gets underway

Race would begin Feb. 5 in Fairbanks

Beadwork and boots being sold by the Yukon First Nations Culture and Tourism Association. A survey from StatsCan reveals the number of Indigenous people who make handmade crafts. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Survey reveals number of Yukoners who speak Indigenous languages

Yukon is behind Nunavut and Northwest Territories when it comes to language retention

Tom Ullyett, pictured, is the first Yukoner to receive the Louis St-Laurent Award of Excellence from the Canadian Bar Association for his work as a community builder and mentor in the territory. (Gabrielle Plonka/Yukon News)
Tom Ullyett wins lifetime achievement award from the Canadian Bar Association

Ullyett has worked in the Yukon’s justice ecosystem for 36 years as a public sector lawyer and mentor

The Blood Ties outreach van will now run seven nights a week, thanks to a boost in government funding. Logan Godin, coordinator, and Jesse Whelen, harm reduction counsellor, are seen here on May 12, 2020. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Blood Ties outreach van running seven nights a week with funding boost

The Yukon government is ramping up overdose response, considering safe supply plan

Ranj Pillai speaks to media about business relief programs in Whitehorse on April 1, 2020. The Yukon government announced Feb.25 that it will extend business support programs until September. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Government extends business relief programs to September, launches new loan

“It really gives folks some help with supporting their business with cash flow.”

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
A look at decisions made by Whitehorse City Council this week

Bylaw amendment Whitehorse city council is moving closer with changes to a… Continue reading

Susie Rogan is a veteran musher with 14 years of racing experience and Yukon Journey organizer. (Yukon Journey Facebook)
Yukon Journey mushers begin 255-mile race

Eleven mushers are participating in the race from Pelly Crossing to Whitehorse

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse on Nov. 22, 2018. As the legislature prepares to return on March 4, the three parties are continuing to finalize candidates in the territory’s 19 ridings. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Nine new candidates confirmed in Yukon ridings

It has been a busy two weeks as the parties try to firm up candidates

David Malcolm, 40, has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm a police officer after an incident in Whitehorse on Feb. 18. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Man resists arrest, assaults officer

A Whitehorse man has been charged with assaulting and attempting to disarm… Continue reading

Yukon Energy in Whitehorse on Aug. 4, 2020. A site on Robert Service Way near the Alaska Highway has been selected as the future home of Yukon Energy’s energy storage project. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Site selected for Yukon Energy battery project

Planned to be in service by the end of 2022

Most Read