Natilee Thompson competes at the Gold Nugget Championship on Dec. 7 in Whitehorse. Thompson was second in the level one free program Arctic Winter Games trials and fourth in the star four elements category. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Gold Nugget Championship puts spotlight on Yukon figure skaters

The event also served as trials for the upcoming Arctic Winter Games

The Arctic Edge Skating Club hosted its annual Gold Nugget Championship on Dec. 6 and 7 at the Canada Games Centre in Whitehorse.

More than two dozen skaters from the club competed in the two-day event that included star levels, Special Olympics categories and Arctic Winter Games trials.

Anne-Patrice Cross, head coach of the AWG team and one of many coaches with the club, said this year’s competition was an impressive showing from skaters.

“It is always fun to watch. Our skaters don’t get too many opportunities to compete, so it’s a good time,” said Cross. “I think as a whole, collectively, I was really impressed with how all of our girls performed. It’s not easy to go out there on your own in a skating dress and skate in front of a crowd. It’s not easy to go out there and do what they do but I was really impressed with the level of performance they brought.”

On the ice, skaters competed in star levels from one to seven depending on ability and experience. Skate Canada does not rank skaters competing at levels one to three, instead grading them on a set of standards.

As Whitehorse is playing host to the Arctic Winter Games in March 2020, the competition included trials for Team Yukon and served as a dry run for officials.

“We had a whole bunch of support,” said Cross. “They were trying to do a trial run of all the Arctic Winter Games stuff, so that was new. We had a little bit of extra media. We had some people there doing video replay, which we typically wouldn’t get for our Gold Nugget competition, so that was kind of neat to see.”

Cross said the team that will compete in March is still yet to be officially announced, but that the Yukon is eligible to send up to eight skaters in total with a maximum of three at each of the four events. The current plan, she said, is to send either six or seven skaters with three at level one, two or three at level two, and one at level three.

The competition has historically included skaters from other clubs, but has been comprised of all Whitehorse-based skaters the last number of years.

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Star 4 elements

1 Breanna Brown

1 Myla Turner

3 Heidi Vallier

4 Natilee Thompson

5 Madisyn Millar

Star 5 elements

1 Kiona Vallier

Star 5 artistic

1 Chloe Van Lankveld

Star 7 women

1 Sarah Milton

Creative improv 3

1 Bronwyn Hays

2 Chloe Van Lankveld

3 Anika Kramer

AWG trials level 1 free

1 Madisyn Millar

2 Natilee Thompson

3 Breanna Brown

4 Kiona Vallier

5 Myla Turner

6 Heidi Vallier

AWG trials level 2 short

1 Bronwyn Hays

2 Anika Kramer

AWG trials level 2 free

1 Bronwyn Hays

2 Anika Kramer

AWG trials level 3 short

1 Alissa Russell

AWG trials level 3 free

1 Alissa Russell

Special Olympics level 2 women

1 Tijana McCarthy

Special Olympics level 3 men

1 Michael Sumner

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Myla Turner compete at the Gold Nugget Championship on Dec. 7 at the Canada Games Centre. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

Bronwyn Hays placed first in the creative improv three category and in both the level two short and free program Arctic Winter Games trials on Dec. 7 during the Gold Nugget Championship. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News)

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