On even-numbered years the Yukon Biathlon Championships end with ski tracks and snowshoe prints in the snow. Those are the years of the Arctic Winter Games.
Ski and snowshoe biathletes, many of whom will represent Yukon at the upcoming Games, hit the trails and range for the championships Sunday at the Biathlon Yukon Range on Grey Mountain Road.
For at least the last three Arctic Games years snowshoe biathletes participated alongside skiers at the championships as they prepare for the Games.
Snowshoe biathletes, who compete in a sport endemic to the Arctic Games, helped produce the largest turnout at the championships in years. Forty-one biathletes, including seven on snowshoe, competed on Sunday, up from 24 last year.
“We have 41 competitors today, so obviously numbers are increasing slowly but steadily,” said Biathlon Yukon president Bill Curtis. “It is putting pressure on the club in terms of capacity for coaching and rifles, but it’s exciting.
“It’s so exciting to see all these people out here, all the parents, snowshoers and skiers.”
Yukon’s Arctic Games biathlon teams have grown since the 2012 Games in Whitehorse. They went from six ski and five snowshoe in 2012 to eight ski and seven snowshoe this year.
On the teams are six returners including skier Nadia Moser, who won four medals at the 2012 Arctic Games. The 16-year-old outpaced Games teammate Maria Peters for first in the youth women division on Sunday. Both skiers shot clean in one of their trips to the range.
“It wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be considering it was my first time skiing with my rifle,” said Moser. “It does make a difference.”
Yukon teammate Chris Holmes, who will compete in snowshoe biathlon at the Games, took gold in junior male on Sunday. Holmes just recently got back into the sport after four years away from it.
“I just got back into it two months ago and I’ve been training really hard,” said Holmes. “The training is working out.
“I don’t find the five-K that hard any more. It used to be a big challenge, but now I could go do it again and again after that. My shooting wasn’t great today, but I’ve been running hard.”
Joining Moser and Peters in ski biathlon at the Games are Liam Adel, Jake Draper, Micah Hildes, Dana Sellars, Tristan Sparks and Pelly Vincent-Braun.
On board with Holmes are Clodagh Berg, Bruce Wilson, Tima Johnson, Marika Kitchen, Francis Reid and Daniel Sennett.
Next month will be Holmes’ first Arctics.
“I think it’s going to be pretty cool,” said Holmes. “I’ve never been to it, I don’t know what’s going to go
down, but I think it’s going to be fun. I can’t wait to go.”
Both Yukon squads – ski and snowshoe – won seven medals at the 2012 Arctic Games.
Biathlon Yukon is in the midst of another strong season. Draper and Hildes both won bronze at the Western Canadian Biathlon Championships at the start of the month. Adel captured a bronze at the Calforex Cup in Canmore, Alta., at the start of the season.
Masters men (7.5km)
1st Brian Healy (3,2,2,1) – 38:22
2nd Grant Redfern (2,3,4,3) – 50:09
3rd Bernard Johnson (4,2,2,4) – 51:57
Senior boys (7.5km)
1st Liam Adel (3,1,5,5) – 47:04
2nd Brendan Curteanu (4,4,1,1) – 1:01:38
3rd Gordon Taylor (3,4,3,4) – 1:05:31
Youth men (7.5km)
DNF Tristan Sparks
Youth women (7.5km)
1st Nadia Moser (1,1,0,3) – 37:07
2nd Maria Peters (1,2,0,3) – 40:29
Junior boys (5km)
1st Jake Draper (2,2,2) – 23:31
2nd Pelly Vincent-Braun (2,2,1) – 25:12
Junior girls (5km)
1st Micah Hildes (1,3,5) – 33:04
2nd Dana Sellars (4,2,3) – 35:12
3rd Bronwyn Goodwin-Williams (3,3,3) – 37:40
4th Alexandria Duchaine (4,2,3) – 40:24
5th Eden Rodrigue (5,5,1) – 50:14
Polar Bears (3km)
1st Romeo Champagne (1,1,2) – 17:44
2nd Caius Taggart-Cox (1,0,2) – 19:43
3rd Micah Taggart-Cox (2,2,2) – 20:00
4th Ross Sennett (1,0,0) – 20:01
5th Aiden Hupe (1,5,2) – 23:23
6th Isla Hupe (2,2,2) – 24:52
7th Emma Marnik (3,3,4) – 26:57
DNF Noah Marnik
Black Bears (3km)
1st Victor Thibeault (1,2,1) – 20:44
2nd Amelia Latour (2,1,1) – 22:01
3rd Solon MacDougall (3,0,2) – 25:22
4th Graham MacDonald (1,1,2) – 27:23
5th Lucas Taggart-Cox (4,2,5) – 31:01
6th Kassua Dreyer (5,3,3) – 31:38
7th Ayla McDonald (5,4,2) – 37:20
8th Cole Byers (3,1,4) – 38:44
9th Brenna Byers (5,4,5) – 44:46
Junior male (5km)
1st Chris Holmes (4,3,4,3) – 43:16
2nd Bruce Wilson (2,4,4,3) – 43:41
Junior female (5km)
1st Tima Johnson (2,5,4,3) – 47:22
Juvenile male (3km)
1st Daniel Sennett (0,2,1) – 21:15
2nd Francis Reid (4,5,3) – 30:07
Juvenile female (3km)
1st Clodagh Berg (3,1,3) – 29:48
2nd Marika Kitchen (3,3,2) – 29:48
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