Rapids skater picks up the pace in Quebec

Whitehorse speedskater Heather Clarke arrived in Drummondville, Quebec, with a specific goal in mind and she achieved it.

Whitehorse speedskater Heather Clarke arrived in Drummondville, Quebec, with a specific goal in mind and she achieved it.

The 18-year-old broke into the top-half of the field in an event at the National Short Track Qualifier over the weekend, after failing to do so the previous weekend at the junior nationals.

Clarke, a member of the Whitehorse Rapids Speed Skating Club, raced to 16th out of 32 skaters in the 500-metre.

“That was my goal for the weekend: the get into the top half in at least one of the distances,” said Clarke.

That result helped Clark finish 23rd overall out of 32 of Canada’s best junior speedskaters.

The previous weekend, Clarke placed 26th out of 32 skaters at the Canadian Junior Short Track Championships, an event she went into ranked 31st in Canada.

“I’m pretty happy with that, to move up from (ranked) 31st, going into 23rd at the end was pretty good,” said Clarke.

Clarke also placed 24th in the 1,500-metre event. She found herself up against nine other skaters in the final. It took three starts for the race to take place because of falls in which skaters took out many of their competitors.

Clarke placed sixth out of the 10 in the final.

“There were 10 of us in that race and it was just crazy,” said Clarke. “There was 10 of us and it was quite scary – lots of blades out there.”

The first heats in each event decide which skaters are in the top 16 of the field and which are in the bottom 16. A tough opening heat can make it impossible to finish in the top half.

Clarke placed 26th in the 1,000-metre after facing some speedy competition in the opening heat.

“I had a really tough heat with two other girls from my program (the Calgary Olympic Oval Program),” said Clarke. “I’m in Group 2 training in Calgary, and then there’s Group 1, which is a little bit of a higher level and both of these girls are from that group. And there was another girl that was pretty fast. So I did not qualify into the top half.

“I was 26th in the 1,000 overall, which is not super great, but I’m happy with how I skated the 1,000.”

At the Canadian Short Track Championships in March, Clarke won bronze in the 1,500-metre event on her way to finishing fifth overall in women’s junior B (17-and-under). The bronze is the best-ever finish by a Yukon skater at the championships.

Clarke also won two gold and three silver at the Arctic Winter Games in Whitehorse. In addition to making all her A finals, she set an Arctic Games record in the junior female 777-metre event, with a time of 1:17.17.

Contact Tom Patrick at


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

Just Posted

Dr. Brendan Hanley, Yukon’s chief medical officer of health, speaks at a press conference in Whitehorse on March 30. Hanley announced three more COVID-19 cases in a release on Nov. 21. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Three more COVID-19 cases, new exposure notice announced

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Brendan Hanley, announced three… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: COVID-19 strikes another blow at high-school students

They don’t show up very often in COVID-19 case statistics, but they… Continue reading

The Cornerstone housing project under construction at the end of Main Street in Whitehorse on Nov. 19. Community Services Minister John Streicker said he will consult with the Yukon Contractors Association after concerns were raised in the legislature about COVID-19 isolation procedures for Outside workers at the site. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Concerns raised about alternate self-isolation plans for construction

Minister Streicker said going forward, official safety plans should be shared across a worksite

The Yukon’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, pictured at a press conference in October, announced three new cases of COVID-19 on Nov. 20 as well as a new public exposure notice. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
New COVID-19 cases, public exposure notice announced

The new cases have all been linked to previous cases

Beatrice Lorne was always remembered by gold rush veterans as the ‘Klondike Nightingale’. (Yukon Archives/Maggies Museum Collection)
History Hunter: Beatrice Lorne — The ‘Klondike Nightingale’

In June of 1929, 11 years after the end of the First… Continue reading

Samson Hartland is the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Mines. The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during its annual general meeting held virtually on Nov. 17. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Yukon Chamber of Mines elects new board

The Yukon Chamber of Mines elected a new board of directors during… Continue reading

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and — unsurprisingly — hospital visitations were down. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Annual report says COVID-19 had a large impact visitation numbers at Whitehorse General

The Yukon Hospital Corporation has released its annual report for 2019-20, and… Continue reading

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

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

City council was closed to public on March 23 due to gathering rules brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. The council is now hoping there will be ways to improve access for residents to directly address council, even if it’s a virtual connection. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Solution sought to allow for more public presentations with council

Teleconference or video may provide opportunities, Roddick says

Megan Waterman, director of the Lastraw Ranch, is using remediated placer mine land in the Dawson area to raise local meat in a new initiative undertaken with the Yukon government’s agriculture branch. (Submitted)
Dawson-area farm using placer miner partnership to raise pigs on leased land

“Who in their right mind is going to do agriculture at a mining claim? But this made sense.”

Riverdale residents can learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s plan to FireSmart a total of 24 hectares in the area of Chadburn Lake Road and south of the Hidden Lakes trail at a meeting on Nov. 26. (Ian Stewart/Yukon News file)
Meeting will focus on FireSmart plans

Riverdale residents will learn more details of the City of Whitehorse’s FireSmarting… Continue reading

The City of Whitehorse is planning to borrow $10 million to help pay for the construction of the operations building (pictured), a move that has one concillor questioning why they don’t just use reserve funds. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Councillor questions borrowing plan

City of Whitehorse would borrow $10 million for operations building

Most Read