The Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club honoured Olympic skier Dahria Beatty on Sept. 25 with a sign on the Olympic trail at the club.
Approximately 75 people attended the unveiling, including a large number of youth skiers taking a break from training.
Beatty said it was something she’s always dreamed about.
“To see my name up on the Olympic trail like this is a huge honour,” said Beatty to the crowd. “I’m really grateful that you could all come out and share this with me today.”
Introducing Beatty to the crowd was Alain Masson, one of Beatty’s coaches as a child in Whitehorse, who shared memories of her early years as a skier and her first Outside competitions at age 14, specifically her first race at the Western Canadian Championship.
“At the Western Canadian Championship, obviously (Beatty) was brand new to skiing nationally and had no Canada points to rank her,” said Masson. “So she started on the very last line of a big mass start in Canmore, Alta., with 85 kids of her age in a 2.5-kilometre race.”
Masson said the situation didn’t seem to faze Beatty.
“She’s totally confident, big smile, not worried at all,” said Masson. “ ‘That’s OK, I just have to pass a bunch of skiers.’ She started last and won the race easily — and 2.5-km only takes 10 minutes — so that’s when people started to notice Dahria nationally.”
Beatty told the News the unveiling was surreal.
“It’s a really exciting moment,” she said. “It’s something that growing up I skied past the trail signs of the Yukon’s Olympians — Lucy Steele is someone I’ve always looked up to as a role model as I’ve been skiing — so it’s quite surreal to have my name up on a sign on the Olympic trail.”
With the 2018 Winter Olympics firmly in the rearview mirror, Beatty said work is underway for the next four-year cycle with an eye on Beijing in 2022 but more immediately, a focus on the World Championships in February and the final World Cup events in Quebec City.
“We’ve put together a plan for the next four years and then kind of worked our way backwards up to this year and how we can put everything together so we can make the most improvements possible for four years time in Beijing,” said Beatty. “Definitely looking to ski another four years and do another Olympic cycle and see what can happen there, and so we’ve been busy training and it’s only a couple months until the race season starts.”
Beatty said performing well on Canadian soil is a different feeling.
“The final World Cup events of the year are in Quebec City this year, so that’s also a big target for me,” said Beatty. “I would like to be performing at my absolute best there because there is something extra special about having those great results when your family and your home country are watching.”
While training leading into last season was less than ideal, Beatty said things have gone well this summer.
“The training season leading into the Olympics last year, unfortunately I had a few more struggles than I would have liked and I was always trying to just make the best of it,” said Beatty.
“This training season has gone without many hitches and I’ve been feeling strong and able to do all the different training blocks that I wanted to do, so I’m really excited about that and hoping that will be able to translate into some big gains this season.”
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at firstname.lastname@example.org