Almost half of Yukon’s snowboard team will be looking to add to their ulu collections come the Arctic Winter Games in March.
Snowboard Yukon announced the team on Sunday following a selection camp and three of the seven boarders on the team competed at the 2012 Games and won ulus (Arctic Games medals).
“We have some really strong riders this year,” said head coach Katrina Couch. “We have a couple new people on the team, but overall we have a well-rounded team.”
Back for another Games are Haylie Grant, Tim Schirmer and Adam Waddington, all of whom won medals at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse. Also going are Robert Faulds, Rachael MacIntosh, Esa Suominen and Reanna Newsome.
Waddington won a gold and bronze, Schirmer two silver and Grant three silver and a bronze in 2012.
Waddington, Suominen, Faulds, Grant and Newsome all competed with Snowboard Yukon’s Elite Team last season.
“Some intensive training last year landed them a spot on the team this year,” said Couch.
Waddington placed 20th in open men’s slopestyle at Snow Crown last season for best-ever finish for a Yukon male at the Canadian freestyle snowboard championships.
Waddington was the first Yukoner ever to compete at the freestyle nationals in 2012, placing 31st out of over 70 boarders in slopestyle and 21st in halfpipe.
Newsome rode to third in slopestyle and Grant raced to third in snowboardcross at the B.C. Snowboard Provincial Series last March.
Waddington, who captured gold in the halfpipe at the 2012 Games, won the open men’s division in slopestyle at last year’s Yukon Snowboarding Championships.
Schirmer was third in slopestyle and second in snowboardcross, one spot up from Suominen.
Newsome was the open women’s Yukon champ in snowboardcross last year and placed second in slopestyle, in front of Grant in third.
MacIntosh has the least experience competing. She is young enough to compete in juvenile, but was pushed up to junior so all three female boarders who went to trials could go to the Arctics.
“Every year we have a hard time getting a full female roster out and this year we had three, which is great to see,” said Couch. “Rachael is new to the competition world, as well as the competitive training scene, but she has a lot of potential and a lot of drive. So we want to provide her with the opportunity to come out and see what a higher level competition is all about.”
Yukon’s snowboard team will also include assistant coach and chaperone Alexander Chisholme, a former Games competitor who won a silver and two bronze for Yukon in snowboarding at the 2010 Arctic Games.
Each Games jurisdiction is allowed two boarders in each of the four categories – junior and juvenile, male and female.
This year’s Arctics in Fairbanks, Alaska, will include banked slalom, slopestyle, boardercross and half-pipe snowboard events.
“At the Arctic Winter Games there is an overall medal, so the goal is to have each athlete compete in each element,” said Couch.
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