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Three Yukoners selected for U23 World Ski Championships

Trio are among 10 athletes selected to represent Canada

Three Yukon skiers have made the list of athletes to represent Canada at the U23 World Ski Championships.

The competition will take place in Plancia, Slovenia from Jan. 26 to Feb. 2.

Sonjaa Schmidt, Derek Deuling and Sasha Masson, all from Whitehorse, are among the 10 athletes from across the country participating at the competition.

Schmidt told the News she has high expectations for the championships. She participated last year and was the youngest in the U23 category, finishing 36th overall. For this year, she said she is in good shape and hopes to achieve a top 20 position in the sprint category and top five in the relay.

“I wasn’t feeling nearly as fit as I do this year and ready,” she said. “So, I’m really hoping to achieve a top 20 and then I really want to be a part of the relay team, which I wasn’t last year. So, that was one of my goals this year to be part of the relay team and then in the relay team to get a top five for Canada.”

She said she has been training in Calgary as part of the Alberta World Cup Academy Ski team as well as in Alaska for early season races.

“I had some pretty good races there which actually pre-qualified me for the World U23 championships in Slovenia.”

Deuling, 21, said he feels great to be competing, adding that “A lot of things came together and I’m just pretty lucky to be able to make the team.”

He said he will be in Anchorage, where he is studying at the University of Alaska, to do a week of volume training and prepare before travelling to the competition.

“It’s gonna be a lot of travel and it’s gonna be hard to balance just training and travel in the next bit, but I think just the number one focus is to stay healthy and continue this and just keep my fitness just as strong as it is.”

He said it “will be pretty amazing to race at the competition”, adding the championships is a gathering of the fastest U23 skiers from around the world.

Masson said it’s a great honour to make the team.

“I can’t really complain. I think it’s just quite exciting to go over. Honestly, the biggest thrill of this week is probably qualifying with my friend Derek, we have been best friends for a while. I’m just glad to be competing with him for Canada and I can’t wait to see how it goes.”

Masson said he has been putting in a massive amount of hours and intensity as preparation.

“We’ve just been kind of doing that this summer. I did a lot of strength this year too, so I hope that pays off in terms of sprinting and long distance races.”

He said he is hopeful that they will achieve some good results during the competition.

“The U23 championships is really where we can prove ourselves as younger athletes in terms of what we can do for any sport in our age group.”

Contact Patrick Egwu at

Patrick Egwu

About the Author: Patrick Egwu

I’m one of the newest additions at Yukon News where I have been writing about a range of issues — politics, sports, health, environment and other developments in the territory.
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