Sasha Masson, right, during a race in 2017. Yukon’s cross-country ski team was in Kelowna from Feb. 16 to 18 for the B.C. Championships at the Telemark Nordic Centre. (Tom Patrick/Yukon News file)

Yukon cross-country skiers compete at B.C. championships

‘We just wanted a quality competition for them in western Canada’

The Yukon’s cross-country ski team was in Kelowna from Feb. 16 to 18 for the B.C. Championships at the Telemark Nordic Centre.

Team Yukon head coach Alain Masson said the trip was designed as a tune-up for the Ski Nationals, scheduled for March 10 to 17 in Thunder Bay.

“It was a good event,” said Masson. “We just wanted a quality competition for them in western Canada to keep racing at a high level and have some good competition in challenging conditions.”

Building off success at the NorAm Westerns earlier this year in Red Deer, Team Yukon again produced a number of strong finishes.

In the juvenile boys category, Derek Deuling won both the free and classic races, with Sasha Masson, Victor Emile-Thibeault and Ben Puskas finishing in the top 10 of the free race. Sasha Masson also finished in the top 10 of the classic race.

Amanda Thomson had a pair of top five finishes in the junior girls free and classic races.

Nichollis Schmidt finished sixth in the junior boys free race.

Alain Masson said racing on a new course in new conditions was a good experience for the team.

“It’s much milder and the snow has more moisture,” said Masson. “On Saturday we raced during a snowstorm that started an hour or so before the first race. The snow accumulation during the day was close to a foot, which made it really challenging for everybody, especially our skiers.”

Whitehorse is comparatively much colder and drier than the Okanagan Valley, and Masson said it was a chance to practice in conditions that Yukon skiers don’t usually see.

Saturday’s snowfall meant the tracks for the classic race effectively disappeared as the day went on.

“It makes it really challenging because most skiers have a hard time skiing without ski tracks,” said Masson. “It’s the same for everybody, just in B.C. it’s a much more common thing.”

Masson said the Yukoners will be better prepared on how to adjust their technique the next time they’re faced with similar conditions.

The focus now is squarely on the Ski Nationals, and the Arctic Winter Games the following week, for Team Yukon.

“Preparation is going well,” said Masson. “We want to ensure we show up at the Ski Nationals in March rested and healthy because most of the team — all of the juniors and juveniles — that will be at the Ski Nationals will go right away to the Arctic Winter Games. That will be a very busy and difficult schedule.”

Masson said skiers train four times per week as a team and ski twice more individually.

“They basically take one rest day a week unless there are fatigue or health issues,” said Masson. “It’s a huge amount of training for skiers at that level.”

Contact John Hopkins-Hill at john.hopkinshill@yukon-news.com

Mass Start Free Technique

Bantam Girls — 2.7-km

1 Dashe McCabe 9:05.4

2 Ruby Serrouya 9:11.1

3 Sofia Maturo 9:26.0

45 Callah MacGillivray 12:36.8

Juvenile Girls — 5-km

1 Isobel Hendry 16:39.9

2 Mia Recknell 16:54.3

3 Jasmine Drolet 16:54.9

12 Sonjaa Schmidt 17:45.7

14 Dahlia Lapointe 18:11.4

Juvenile Boys — 7-km

1 Derek Deuling 20:17.5

2 Travis Grialou 20:37.5

3 Walker Hall 20:38.3

4 Sasha Masson 20:39.8

5 Victor Emile-Thibeault 20:40.6

8 Ben Puskas 20:42.5

12 Roméo Champagne 20:55.8

Junior Girls — 7-km

1 Novie McCabe 21:56.8

2 Ella-Sophie Kuzyk 23:07.8

3 Gretta Scholz 23:15.8

4 Amanda Thomson 23:29.1

12 Hannah Jirousek 24:29.0

Junior Boys — 10-km

1 Michael Murdoch 30:27.2

2 Ian Oliphant 30:38.9

3 Cole Turner 30:42.0

6 Nichollis Schmidt 31:15.3

12 Jamie Phillips-Freedman 33:14.7

Interval Start Classic Technique

Bantam Girls — 2-km

1 Dashe McCabe 8:16.7

2 Ruby Serrouya 8:40.4

3 Anika Wallin 9:05.7

42 Callah MacGillivray 11:03.6

Juvenile Girls — 7-km

1 Jasmine Drolet 28:16.0

2 Emma Wong 28:31.9

3 Maggie Beckner 28:34.4

12 Sonjaa Schmidt 30:19.4

18 Dahlia Lapointe 30:51.1

Juvenile Boys — 7-km

1 Derek Deuling 35:11.8

2 Walker Hall 35:31.2

3 Aiden Noble 36:47.6

9 Sasha Masson 38:13.5

19 Victor Emile-Thibeault 39:27.3

23 Ben Puskas 41:01.9

29 Roméo Champagne 43:33.8

Junior Girls — 10-km

1 Novie McCabe 37:51.5

2 Ella-Sophie Kuzyk 41:45.6

3 Mila Wittenberg 42:07.0

5 Amanda Thomson 42:37.3

16 Hannah Jirousek 45:45.7

Junior Boys — 10-km

1 Michael Murdoch 53:26.8

2 Cole Turner 54:06.2

3 Joe Davies 54:19.4

13 Jamie Phillips-Freedman 1:00:35.6

17 Nichollis Schmidt 1:04:31.3

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