Youngsters impress at AWG snowboard trials

Three team veterans were among a dozen snowboarders at Yukon’s team trials for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games this past Sunday at Mount Sima.

Three team veterans were among a dozen snowboarders at Yukon’s team trials for the 2016 Arctic Winter Games this past Sunday at Mount Sima.

However, at the end of the day, following slopestyle and banked slalom events, none of them were at the top of the 10-person male category.

Twelve-year-old Sammy Mather placed second in both competitions to place first overall in the final standings.

“He’s quite amazing. This is his first year in Snowboard Yukon programs,” said Yukon head coach Mary Binsted. “We’ve managed to win him over from some other sports.”

There was lots of young blood on the slopes. Mather was one of three 12-year-old boys competing at the trials. Ethan Davy and Asher Brault, both of whom are 14 years old, tied for third in the final standings.

“We’ve got this really active group of younger guys,” said Binsted. “We’ve got this strong, new group moving up and it’s pretty amazing. Their skill level is quite high for their age. It’s the highest we’ve seen in that age group yet.”

Team veteran Tim Schirmer was out competing for a spot at what would be his final Arctics. The 17-year-old finished first in the slopestyle event and fourth in banked slalom on Sunday for second overall in the standings.

Schirmer won three medals at each of the last two Arctic Games. He and Davy represented Yukon at the 2015 Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C., last year.

Veteran Rachel MacIntosh, who won two bronze at the last Arctics, was also out for Sunday’s trials. The 18-year-old won both events for females, beating 10-year-old Riley Boland – the only other female competitor.

“(MacIntosh has) been riding three years now with the team and is improving each time along the way,” said Binsted. “So we’re glad she has this opportunity to try it out one more time.”

“Riley was one of our top Sandor’s Shredders (development program) riders last season … So we encouraged her to come out for the team,” she added.

Yukon’s snowboard teams have been the most successful for the territory at the last three Arctic Games, in terms of ulus (medals). The snowboard crew collected the most hardware with 21 ulus at the 2014 Games in

Fairbanks, 15 at the 2012 Games in Whitehorse and 10 at the 2010 Games in Grande Prairie, Alta.

Each Games jurisdiction can enter a team of eight snowboarders – four male and four female, two of each in junior and juvenile categories.

Snowboard Yukon will now conduct three weeks of training camp until the team is named before the deadline of Feb. 1.

The 2016 Arctic Winter Games will take place March 6-11 in Nuuk, Greenland.

Contact Tom Patrick at

tomp@yukon-news.com

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