Four Whitehorse skiers nominated to national teams

Yukon's powerhouse status in cross-country skiing is evident with a read through the national team nominations. Whitehorse will be represented by four skiers over three national teams.

Yukon’s powerhouse status in cross-country skiing is evident with a read through the national team nominations.

Whitehorse will be represented by four skiers over three national teams, Cross Country Canada announced on Friday.

Graham Nishikawa, Dahria Beatty, Annah Hanthorn and, not surprisingly, Olympian Emily Nishikawa were included in the team and development centre nominations.

Next ski season will mark a change in course in Graham’s ski career.

The 30-year-old has been nominated to Canada’s Para-Nordic World Cup Team to continue his work with famed Paralympian Brian McKeever, who is legally blind.

Graham helped McKeever win three gold medals at the Sochi Paralympic Games in March. He doesn’t plan to compete individually any more.

“I will be just guiding from now on,” said Graham. “It’s a little bit of a shift. Things aren’t totally set in stone, but I’m nominated as a guide because of our success in Sochi at the Paralympics and I’ll continue to guide Brian over the next couple years.”

Graham has been on the senior development team the last six seasons. He pocketed a gold, silver and bronze at the Haywood Ski Nationals – Canada’s cross-country championships – in March. Those results put him second in the aggregate standings for open men.

Last year he became the first Yukon male to compete at the Nordic World Ski Championships.

“Lots has been going on and happening pretty fast, but I’m super excited about guiding and moving forward,” said Graham, who is one of two guides for McKeever. “I’ll still be in the ski scene so it’s a great situation. I’m happy to help Brian do what he does, to keep winning races.”

Emily and Beatty were nominated to the senior development team and the Alberta World Cup Academy in Canmore last week.

Next season will be Emily’s fourth straight on the team.

“It’s an honour to get on the national team,” said Emily. “I’m really happy about it.”

Emily was the first Yukon cross-country skier to compete at the Olympics since 1992 this past February in Sochi. She led the Canadian team in two races in Sochi, topping out with a 42nd place finish in the 15-kilometre skiathlon.

“That was a pretty incredible experience,” said Emily. “That first race – the 15-kilometre pursuit – I had a great race and everything came together. It was my first race at the Olympics and everything about that race was so memorable.”

Emily teamed up with Beatty to win gold in the open women’s team sprint at the nationals. She also won a gold and silver in individual races and placed second in aggregate open women.

Last season Emily was the first female from the territory to reach the world championship since 1997.

“I have some big goals in mind for this coming season,” said Emily. “I’ve had these great opportunities to get experience at the world championships and the Olympics now and I’m really looking to improve on those results internationally – specifically to get some top-30 results on the world cup this year.”

Beatty has skied for the national junior team the last four seasons and will be in her first as a senior skier next season.

The 20-year-old, who has competed at three junior world championships, was nominated for the development team’s new under-23 subcategory.

“I’m very pleased,” said Beatty. “It was a goal throughout last season. Obviously it wasn’t something I was solely focused on, but I was hoping to have a strong enough season to qualify for the senior team. I knew coming out of the junior world championship, placing 15th and 20th there, that I had met the criteria. So I was hoping to be nominated and I was really excited to be named to the team.”

Beatty had the largest medal haul of the Yukon skiers at the Haywood Nationals. She won five medals, including three gold, en route to taking first place in the junior women aggregate standings.

Next season will be Hanthorn’s last as a junior and her first on the national junior team.

“I was very excited, very surprised,” said Hanthorn. “I immediately wrote an email to my mom.”

This past season was the 19-year-old’s first on the Yukon Ski Team, having moved to Whitehorse from Fort McPherson, N.W.T., last summer. Training in Whitehorse has helped her along, she said.

“It was definitely a huge bonus moving here,” said Hanthorn. “Alain (Masson) and Amanda (Deuling) are such good coaches and I have really good teammates. The waxing is phenomenal, and the training.”

Hanthorn’s goal for next season is to qualify for the junior worlds. She captured three bronze medals at the Haywood Nationals in March.

“I hurt my ankle a bit before … and I wasn’t sure how it would play out,” said Hanthorn. “I didn’t have any expectations. I wanted to just go there, have fun and race my heart out.”

Two other Whitehorse skiers have been recognized by Cross Country Canada recently.

Caelan McLean and Marcus Deuling have been named to Canada’s National Talent Squad, which identifies up-and-comers between the ages of 15 and 18.

McLean and Marcus were on the Yukon Ski Team last winter. McLean won a gold and placed third in junior boys aggregate at the Haywood Nationals.

“It’s great that we still have athletes from the Yukon being named to the national team,” said Yukon Ski Team head coach Alain Masson. “It’s nice to see we have some young up-and-coming athletes who are knocking on the door to national teams. It looks good for the next few years.”

Contact Tom Patrick at

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

Just Posted

The Many Rivers Counselling and Support Services building in Whitehorse on March 28, 2019. Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed for good say they were relieved to hear that the Yukon RCMP has undertaken a forensic audit into the now-defunct NGO’s financial affairs. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Former Many Rivers board members relieved to hear about forensic audit, wonder what took so long

Three people who sat on Many Rivers’ board immediately before it closed… Continue reading

Whitehorse General Hospital in Whitehorse on Feb. 14, 2019. The Yukon Employees’ Union and Yukon Hospital Corporation are at odds over whether there’s a critical staffing shortage at the territory’s hospitals. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
YEU, Yukon Hospital Corp. at odds over whether hospitals are understaffed

YEU says four nurses quit within 12 hours last week, a claim the YHC says is “inaccurate”

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates, Ray Hartling and Mark Lange, have filed a class action against the jail, corrections officials and Yukon government on behalf of everyone who’s been placed in two restrictive units over the past six years. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Class action filed against Whitehorse Correctional Centre over use of segregation

Two former Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmates have filed a class action against… Continue reading


Wyatt’s World for Oct. 21, 2020

Movie poster for <em>Ìfé,</em> a movie being shown during OUT North Film Festival, which includes approximately 20 different films accessible online this year. (Submitted)
OUT North Film Festival moves to virtual format

In its ninth year, the artistic director said this year has a more diverse set of short and feature films

Triple J’s Canna Space in Whitehorse on April 17, 2019, opens their first container of product. Two years after Canada legalized the sale of cannabis, Yukon leads the country in per capita legal sales. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Yukon leads Canadian cannabis sales two years after legalization

Private retailers still asking for changes that would allow online sales

A sign greets guests near the entrance of the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse on June 11. The city announced Oct. 16 it was moving into the next part of its phased reopening plan with spectator seating areas open at a reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
CGC reopening continues

Limited spectator seating now available

During Whitehorse city council’s Oct. 19 meeting, planning manager Mélodie Simard brought forward a recommendation that a proposed Official Community Plan amendment move forward that would designate a 56.3 hectare piece of land in Whistle Bend, currently designated as green space, as urban residential use. (Courtesy City of Whitehorse)
More development in Whistle Bend contemplated

OCP change would be the first of several steps to develop future area

EDITORIAL: Don’t let the City of Whitehorse distract you

A little over two weeks after Whitehorse city council voted to give… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Northwestel has released the proposed prices for its unlimited plans. Unlimited internet in Whitehorse and Carcross could cost users between $160.95 and $249.95 per month depending on their choice of package. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet options outlined

Will require CRTC approval before Northwestel makes them available

Legislative assembly on the last day of the fall sitting in Whitehorse. Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting instead of 30 days to make up for lost time caused by COVID-19 in the spring. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Legislative assembly sitting extended

Yukon’s territorial government will sit for 45 days this sitting. The extension… Continue reading

Today’s mailbox: Mad about MAD

Letters to the editor published Oct. 16, 2020

Most Read