Skiers hit the trail, finally

During the weekend’s Don Sumanik race series at Mt. McIntyre, cross-country skiers finally got a crack at the new Canada Winter Games racing…

During the weekend’s Don Sumanik race series at Mt. McIntyre, cross-country skiers finally got a crack at the new Canada Winter Games racing trails.

The competition was tough and made for some exciting finishes, despite less-than-ideal conditions.

Icy sections and sparse snow added to the challenge as skiers negotiated the difficult terrain at high speeds.

Saturday’s freestyle races featured a mass-start in the stadium area, while Sunday’s classic races used an individual timed start.

Yukon Ski Team members Emily Nishikawa and David Greer took home top honours after the weekend series was finished. Both were awarded the Sumanik trophies for posting the best overall time for the two days combined.

“I was pretty happy with my race,” said Nishikawa after the trophy presentation on Sunday. Her strong finish in the classic (over a minute ahead of the next racer) made up for a disappointing second place in Saturday’s freestyle.

“I’d say today went a lot better than yesterday, I felt pretty good both days, but I took a couple falls yesterday.”

Bryn Knight ended up winning the freestyle, with Nishikawa six and a half seconds back after a dramatic downhill wipeout entering the stadium.

In the open men’s race, David Greer won Saturday’s race after duking it out for much of the 7.5-kilometre course with second place finisher Ray Sabo, then putting on the jets in Sunday’s 10-kilometre course, powering up the hills and taking the title by more than a minute.

“Saturday’s race was tougher, because of the mass start,” said Greer. “All my competition was right beside me — it was hard to get away.”

He’s not complaining though.

“The tougher the courses are, the more I like it,” he said.

The weekend’s results will be used by Cross Country Yukon as selection races for both the Arctic Winter Games to be held in Alaska, and the Canadian Nationals, which will be held in Thunder Bay.

Both of these race series are scheduled for early March.

The Sumanik races had already been postponed from their original December date, but organizers were anxious to test the timing systems and the new trails and athletes were anxious to test their mettle.

“The course was pretty good,” said Nishikawa. “I really like the new trails, they’re challenging. It would have been better with a bit more snow.”

The scant snow forced organizers to use the freestyle course for both races, abandoning the classic course that runs north of the wax room.

“It’s amazing we were able to host the races, considering how little snow there is,” said Yukon Ski Team coach Alain Masson.

“We’re hoping for a bit more snow before westerns.” Whitehorse will host the Western Cross-Country Skiing Championships in late March.

Saturday freestyle races (mass start)

Atom one-kilometre

1st Natalie Hynes

2nd Maggie O’Connor-

Brook

3rd Pelly Braun

Pee Wee Boys one-kilometre

1st Caelen McLean

Pee Wee Girls

one-kilometre

1st Morgan Paul

2nd Eliza Paul

3rd Kassi Wright

Mini Midget Girls

2.5-kilometre

1st Holly Bull

2nd Nesha Wright

3rd Marie-Louise Roy

Mini Midget Boys

2.5-kilometre

1st Anatole Tuzlak

2nd Trevor Bray

3rd Christopher Anderson

Midget Girls 2.5-kilometre

1st Janelle Greer

2nd Heidi Brook

3rd Dahria Beatty

Midget Boys 2.5-kilometre

1st Jeff Wood

2nd Knute Johnsgaard

3rd Fabian Brook

Juvenile Girls 5-kilometre

1st Brittany Smith

2nd Ziggy Reimer

Juvenile Boys 7.5-kilometre

1st Colin Abbott

2nd Logan Potter

3rd Nansen Murray

Open Women 7.5-kilometre

1st Bryn Knight

2nd Emily Nishikawa

3rd Sarah Murray

Open Men 7.5 kilometre

1st David Greer

2nd Raymond Sabo

3rd John Parry

Sunday classic races

Atom one-kilometre

1st Maggie O’Connor-

Brook

Pee Wee Girls

one-kilometre

1st Morgan Paul

2nd Eliza Paul

Mini Midget Girls

2.5-kilometre

1st Holly Bull

2nd Nesha Wright

3rd Mary-Louise Roy

Mini Midget Boys

2.5-kilometre

1st Anatole Tuzlak

2nd Trevor Bray

Midget Girls 2.5-kilometre

1st Janelle Greer

2nd Dahria Beatty

3rd Kendra Murray

Midget Boys 2.5-kilometre

1st Jeff Wood

2nd Knute Johnsgaard

3rd Fabian Brook

Juvenile Girls

3.75-kilometre

1st Ziggy Reimer

2nd Brittany Smith

Juvenile Boys five-kilometre

1st Nansen Murray

2nd Colin Abbott

3rd Logan Potter

Open Women 7.5-kilometre

1st Emily Nishikawa

2nd Bryn Knight

3rd Sarah Murray

Open Men 10-kilometre

1st David Greer

2nd Raymond Sabo

3rd John Parry

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