Members of Yukon Alpine Ski Team closed out the season out of the territory and out of their comfort zone.
But despite racing in events they don’t often compete in, like ski cross and dual slalom, the team collected eight medals over the weekend.
Four young Yukon males raced at the B.C. North Zone Finals in Smithers and won seven medals, and three females competed at the Kootenay Zone Finals in Fernie and won a bronze.
“It was a very good weekend and very good results,” said Yukon coach Eugene Hawes, who was in Smithers.
“We had a very good showing with the kids that we brought down. The boys were very well behaved and were good ambassadors for the Yukon.”
The four Yukon boys, who were all skiing in the U12 division, opened the finals with five medals in giant slalom – an event they’re more accustomed to – on Saturday.
Yukon’s Shane Orban won both GS races to capture gold in each. Teammate Charlie Hawes finished behind his teammate in both to take two silver.
Liam Diamond skied to bronze in one of the races and Manas Sarin-Toews just missed the podium with a fourth place result.
In Sunday’s ski cross, Orban was again out front to win gold and Charlie won silver.
Diamond came in fourth and Sarin-Toews in sixth.
Charlie won two gold and Orban a gold and a silver at the North Zone Final last year.
Charlie also won gold in the under-12 male giant slalom of this year’s Yukon Cup, the territory’s alpine championship, in February. Orban won in slalom at the Yukon Cup.
“More and more they’re trying to train the kids in ski cross because that’s a new event for Alpine Canada and the best time to start the training is when they’re young,” said Yukon head coach Yves Titley, who was in Fernie.
Yukon’s three females in at the Kootenay Zone Finals faced elimination with every race. They competed in ski cross on Saturday and dual slalom on Sunday, both events in which top skiers advance to the next round and slower skiers get cut from the competition.
Yukon’s Abby Hawes won a bronze in the ski cross in the U16 girls division. Teammate Josie Storey made the B final in the same division and Yukon’s Katie Vowk was eliminated in the U14 quarterfinal.
“That’s the first (medal) in the U16 girls; we’ve never had medals in that type of event for the girls,” said Titley. “It’s not the first medal in ski cross because last year in Fernie Charlie won a (gold) medal. So this year his sister got a bronze in ski cross.”
In the dual slalom Vowk made it to the third round – the one before the medal round. Abby and Storey were eliminated in the second round.
It was the first time members of the Yukon team raced dual slalom since last year’s Arctic Winter Games. (Storey won silver in dual slalom at the Games in juvenile girls. It was the first Arctic Games medal won by the Yukon in alpine skiing since 2006.)
“The ski conditions were not perfect,” said Titley. “They had something like 35 centimetres the day before and then another 20. There was a lot of fresh snow and we’re not used to skiing on fresh snow in the Yukon.
“For Abby, Josie and Katie to race dual slalom in those conditions … they did very well,” he added. “Plus, down the course there were two places with a jump and they’ve never done a step like that … But they did very well and I’m very pleased.”
Hawes had the fastest time of any skier in the giant slalom, while Storey had the fastest overall time in the slalom event at the Yukon Cup.
Storey and Charlie Hawes won divisions at the Yukon Ski Cross Championship earlier this month at Mount Sima.
“I’d like to thank Mount Sima for the support we get from them and would like to see the continuation of the ski hill,” said Eugene. “They’ve been on hard times, but if it wasn’t for them and the facility the city offers, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
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