Whitehorse skiers start World Cup season in Finland

Whitehorse’s three national team skiers — Emily Nishikawa, Knute Johnsgaard and Dahria Beatty — had an up-and-down start to the FIS World Cup Dec. 27. Literally up and down.

Whitehorse’s three national team skiers — Emily Nishikawa, Knute Johnsgaard and Dahria Beatty — had an up-and-down start to the FIS World Cup Dec. 27. Literally up and down.

“Everyone always told me the hills in Ruka are really steep and I finally got to experience the crazy steep hills,” said Beatty in an email to the News. “There’s definitely a technique to climbing hills this steep and it is going to be at the top of the things I work on for the future.”

The World Cup season kicked off with classic sprints in Ruka, Finland.

Beatty, 22, was the top Canadian in the women’s race, finishing 50th. Nishikawa didn’t race.

Johnsgaard raced to 69th in the men’s race — fourth out of seven on the Canadian team.

“It was nice to be racing again. I was happy with my sprint on Saturday,” said Beatty. “This is by far the most competitive World Cup field I have ever raced, I was hoping to do a bit better than 50th but I feel I skied well and can learn from the little tactical errors I made.”

Nishikawa placed 59th in the women’s 10-kilometre classic on Sunday to start her World Cup season. She came in with a time of 30 minutes and 2.3 seconds.

“It felt good to do my first race of the season, as I wasn’t able to compete in any of the earlier (preseason) races held this year due to injury,” said Nishikawa in an email. “I am very happy with a solid start to the season, and I know that there is lots of room for improvement. I need a few races to get back into race shape now, and am so excited to see some progress over the next few weeks.”

Beatty placed 74th out of 79 skiers in the race at 30:49.6.

Johnsgaard came 85th out of 98 skiers in the men’s 15-kilometre classic on Sunday with a time of 39:21.0.

The Canadian team will be in Lillehammer, Norway this weekend for another set of World Cup races.

“Sunday’s 10km classic was a tough race for me all around,” said Beatty. “I am putting that one behind me and refocusing for mini tour in Lillehammer next weekend which I am really looking forward to.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com

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