The Arctic Winter Games haven’t started, but a member of the Yukon snowboarding team has already begun a medal haul.
Adam Waddington, who will represent the Yukon in the juvenile male category next month at the Games in Whitehorse, won bronze in a Junior Jam competition at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary on Friday. He then reached the final of the Wild Out Rail Jam on Sunday.
“He landed his first backside 900 this weekend, which he was really happy about,” said Yukon coach Gabriel Rivest.
Waddington was joined by four other boarders, three of which are also on the Yukon’s Arctic Games team.
“The kids all landed new tricks this weekend; they are all doing really well,” said Rivest. “The chemistry on the team is really good too. I’m amazed how well the kids are behaving and how they are getting along together.
“I’m really looking forward to the Games now. I think we’re ready for it.”
Lara Bellon, who will represent the Yukon in the junior female division, took in a first-place finish in Friday’s competition, but as the only female competitor. She and Yukon coach Katrina Couch also competed in the finals of the Wild Out Rail Jam on Sunday.
“All the girls were automatically going to the finals,” said Rivest. “The coaches – we also competed in the rail jam for fun to help the kids and encourage them.”
Also making the trip were Francis Bouffard, who will represent the territory in the junior male category, and Esa Suominen, the Yukon’s alternate for the Games.
Bhry Romat, who is not on the team, also took part in the competition and the training.
For the training, which was the main focus of the trip, the team got some semi-private practice on the freestyle park and worked with a “massive” airbag, like a crash pad, which took some of the risk out of trying new things.
“It was mostly freestyle. What happened was the park was mostly closed for the Yukon team and the Alberta team on Saturday,” said Rivest. “So we had the whole park to ourselves, which was really great because you don’t get the intimidation from all the other people who are usually there in the park. And the park stays in much better condition then.
“So all Saturday we were training in the park on jumps and rails. And we also had the opportunity to use an airbag, which was really good for the kids.”
The Yukon’s Tim Schirmer, Alidas Jamnicky and Haylie Grant will also represent the territory at the Games.
In other snowboard news, Max Melvin-McNutt, the Yukon’s first boarder to make the B.C. Provincial Freestyle Team, is out for at least six weeks with a broken collarbone sustained during practice.
In his first competition with the team at the BCSA Provincial Slopestyle event at Big White in B.C., Melvin-McNutt finished second out of 68 athletes – first for the male 15-18 age category – at the start of the year.
Two weeks later at Sun Peaks, the 17-year-old came fourth overall and second in the 15-18 age group. He then took fifth overall and fourth for his age group the following day.
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