Yukon alpine skiers were fast down the mountain and high on the podium recently.
The Yukon Alpine Ski Team sped to 12 medals at the North Zone Finals at Hudson Bay Mountain in Smithers, B.C., on April 7. That’s just two short of the 14 the team won two years ago at the event.
The bulk of the medals were won in giant slalom events — a one-run giant slalom, and a two-run giant slalom (GS).
Charlie Hawes was Yukon’s golden boy in Smithers. The team veteran won gold in both GS events in the U16 boys division.
Teammate Shane Orban took silver in both races, also in U16 boys.
In the two-run GS Hawes posted the fastest time in both runs while Orban posted the second fastest in his. Just 1.77 seconds separated Hawes and Orban after the two runs.
In the one-run GS Hawes took first just 0.12 seconds ahead of Orban.
Anika Aschbacher, who is new to the Yukon team this season, captured bronze in both GS races for U16 girls.
After not finishing in the two-run GS, Yukon’s Clayton Chapman bounced back to take bronze in the one-run GS for U14 boys. He also picked up a bronze in a ski-cross event.
A couple of Yukoners were just shy of podium finishes. Noah Wright placed fourth for U16 boys in both races. Naoise Taylor-Dempsey was fourth for U14 boys in the two-run GS and fifth in the one-run.
Greta Gladwin came fifth in two-run GS for U14 girls and was sixth in the one-run. Manas Sarin-Toews placed sixth in both GS races for U16 boys. Orin Gladwin sped to sixth and seventh in the U14 boys GS races. Amelia Wallace did not finish in the two-run GS for U14 girls, but placed 12th in the one-run GS.
The Yukon team also brought eight U12 skiers to Smithers, all of whom were racing outside the Yukon for their first time.
“They ran the long course. That was the same course as the U16s,” said Alpine Yukon head coach Yves Titley. “Usually I set the GS around maybe 28 to 30 turning gates, and down there it was 38 turning gates top to bottom. So this just attests that they are physically fit to finish a long course like that.
“For the U12s, this was an excellent result considering that was a very long course.”
Yukon’s Anna Potvin led the way for the Yukon’s U12s. She won silver in the two-run GS and bronze in the one-run — one second behind the silver medalist.
Teammate Tori Vollmer placed fifth in the one-run GS and sixth in the two-run. Adelle Anderson snatched seventh in both races. Jordan Minifie came eighth in both races.
Emily Vangel placed 11th in the one-run GS; Annie Heffner 14th in the one-run; Morgan Blower 14th in the two-run GS; and Piper Wolsky claimed 17th in the two-run GS.
Yukon skiers didn’t win hardware in the dual slalom but added a couple more in the ski-cross. Anna Potvin and little sister Atlin, a U10 girls skiers, both won a medal in the event.
“We don’t really count the ski-cross and the dual because it’s not a points race, it’s more like a fun race,” said Titley.
Hawes has won a few races this season leading up to the finals in Smithers. He was the fastest male skier for a fourth year in a row at the Yukon Cup, the territory’s alpine ski championships, last month. He also won the corresponding title at the Sima Cup in February. Hawes has raced for Yukon at three Arctic Winter Games, winning gold in slalom at the Games last year.
Contact Tom Patrick at email@example.com