Disappointing first day for Nishikawa at Canmore

Graham Nishikawa, skiing in the Canmore World Cup men’s classic sprint, was only 13.7 seconds behind the leader in the qualification round.

Graham Nishikawa, skiing in the Canmore World Cup men’s classic sprint, was only 13.7 seconds behind the leader in the qualification round.

However, that was only good enough for 47th place and so he didn’t advance into the heats.

Only the top 30 men advance to the heats from the qualification round and Nishikawa needed to find four more seconds over the 1,200-metre course to make the cut.

Nishikawa was a bit disappointed in his placing, but not his time.  “Being only four seconds back of making the heats wasn’t a bad result for me,” he said after the race.  “I’m in good shape and hopefully on Friday I’ll be up there.”

It was a Norwegian sweep in the men’s race. Boerre Naess won both the qualification round and the title as he won the men’s A-final ahead of four other Norwegians and a lone Russian.

It was a tough course, but despite the hills the Norwegian men chose to go without grip wax, double poling the climbs.

Top Canadian man for the day was Sean Crooks, who finished 18th overall.

On the women’s side of the race, hometown Canmore favourites Chandra Crawford and Sara Renner both made it into the heats.

Crawford finished 12th overall, while Renner was two spots back in 14th position.  These were good results for both women. Crawford is a strong sprinter but is noted mostly as a skater, while Renner is on the comeback trail after taking a year off to have a baby.

Slovenian skier Petra Majdic won the women’s competition.

Races resume today with an individual start, free technique race. Men will be racing 15 kilometres and women will be doing 10 kilometres. Nishikawa will be joined at the race by his sister Emily, who will be making her first world cup appearance.

Emily got a big surprise last weekend with a last minute chance to start a World Cup race, a real rarity for a junior skier.

Nishikawa had narrowly missed a chance to compete for Canada at the World Junior Championships recently. She was just preparing to head off to the States to compete in some regional races when she got a call from Cross Country Canada telling her they had an unfilled spot on the start list for one of the four World Cup races being held in Canmore this week.

“I was thrilled,” said the teenager.

Even though she has no expectations for results, getting the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the world is a once in a lifetime opportunity for any skier.  She immediately changed her travel plans and headed for Alberta.

Mount Sima

Mount Sima will be open this weekend, but with T-bar and handle tow only. Limited terrain will be available for use. Work continues on the chairlift and it is hoped to be running for next weekend.

Call 667-7547 for current information about open runs and possible cold-weather hill closures.

Sled-dog racing

The January installment of the Yukon Brewing Copper Haul Twister league runs this Saturday. Here are the details:

Alpine Vet Race Day

Mushers meeting at 8:45 a.m. at Icy Waters Ltd, kilometre 4.2 Fish Lake Road.

19-kilometre Copper Haul Twister — sleds with 2-6 dogs and skis with 2-4 dogs, start at 10 a.m.

Five-kilometre kids race, sleds 2-4 dogs, skis 1-2 dogs, start at approximately 11:30 a.m.

Five-kilometre pet dog race, skis, sleds or whatever, attached to one dog.

For more information, check out www.copperhaultwister.blogspot.com

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