It was third time’s the charm for Yukon skier Josie Storey.
After missing the podium by a fraction of a second on Monday and Tuesday, she took silver in dual slalom in Arctic Winter Games alpine skiing at Mt. Sima on Wednesday.
“I wasn’t really expecting it at all,” said Storey. “It was a great experience and really fun.”
At just 13 years of age, Storey is at the bottom of the juvenile age group. She is nonetheless competing in her second Arctic Games, having received special permission to compete at the 2010 Games in Grande Prairie, Alta.
Storey came within a hair of winning bronze during the first two days of racing at the Games.
She was just 0.170 seconds behind the bronze-winner in Monday’s giant slalom. Storey then was 0.240 behind the bronze-winner on Tuesday.
However, she wasn’t disappointed by so narrowly missing the podium those first two days.
“The main reason (for racing) was just to have fun, I wasn’t really here to win,” said Storey. “I didn’t plan on coming here and medalling here at all. I was quite surprised.”
Storey’s medal is the first won by the Yukon in alpine skiing since the 2006 Arctic Games in Kenai Peninsula Borough, Alaska.
Despite not fielding any skiers in the junior male division, the Yukon team accumulated enough points to take bronze in the team event. It is the first time in Games history the Yukon won a team medal in alpine. Alaska, which had both medal winners and a large team, took the gold, ahead of Alberta North with silver.
Another strong finish by a Yukoner was juvenile male Charlie Hawes, taking fifth in the giant slalom on Monday.
With the exception of teammate Marek Henderson Pekarik, who is also just 11, Hawes was two years younger than the next-youngest skier in the juvenile male category. Both Hawes and Pekarik had to get special permission to compete.
“That was a great success for Charlie,” said Yukon head coach Yves Titley. “Most of the coaches said watch this kid Charlie Hawes in two years.”
“He was really fast for his age and size,” said Storey. “I was really impressed … He’s half the size of everyone else there.”
Other strong Yukon results included Abby Hawes in sixth for Tuesday’s slalom in juvenile female. Juvenile male Sam Schirmer had his team’s best finish with seventh in the slalom. Junior female Kaitlynn Mitchell placed sixth in the giant slalom and seventh in the slalom.
In the dual slalom, Schirmer came sixth, one spot up from teammate Charlie Hawes. Juvenile female Lyndsey Boorse came in seventh and Abby Hawes in eighth. Kaitlynn Mitchell finished in seventh for junior female.
“Some had never competed before, like Samantha Richardson, it’s the first racing she’s ever done. Marek Henderson Pekarik, the same thing,” said Titley. “Marek was in Fernie, but otherwise, it was quite nerve-racking for them. Not only was the course way longer than what we train on, it was the first time they raced in important races.
“I’m pretty proud of them.”
In addition to Pekarik and Charlie Hawes, the Yukon’s Taylor Mitchell needed permission from the Arctic Games to move up and compete in the junior category.
“All our spots in juvenile were filled so (Taylor Mitchell) had to race junior,” said Titley. “Unfortunately, she fractured her wrist in a warm-up run. She raced the giant slalom with her arm in a cast.”
A month before the Games, Josie Storey skied to a silver and bronze at the Purden Mountain Host Teck Kinder Slalom Event in Prince George, B.C. At the event, Abby Hawes also won a bronze.
At the prestigious Whistler Cup at the end of last season, Storey produced a 31st placement in the giant slalom. It had been a few years since a Yukoner had competed at the event.
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