It was a busy weekend for a handful of the Yukon’s best cross-country skiers on Dec. 8 and 9, with Emily Nishikawa competing at the World Cup event in Beitostolen, Norway, and Dahria Beatty, Amanda Thomson and Hannah Jirousek competing at the Haywood NorAm event in Sovereign Lake, B.C.
Nishikawa and her Canadian teammate Cendrine Browne both raced in the ladies’ 15-kilometre free race in Beitostolen on Dec. 8, finishing in the 30s.
Norwegian Therese Johaug finished first in the race with a time of 37 minutes and 33.9 seconds. Second place went to Sweden’s Charlotte Kalla who finished in 38 minutes and 39.8 seconds. Ingvild Flugstad Oestberg, another Norwegian, was third with a time of 38 minutes and 40 seconds.
Nishikawa was the top Canadian in 34th place and a time of 41 minutes and 35.5 seconds. Browne was 38th with a time of 41 minutes and 50.3 seconds.
“It was a really good race for me, considering it is so early on in the season,” said Nishikawa in an email to the News. “I’m very happy with this start to the season.”
Conditions were favourable for the race, and Nishikawa said the weather was good for racing.
“There was lots of new snow falling,” said Nishikawa. “It was nice to have some wintery conditions for the race.”
While Nishikawa was in Norway, a trio of Yukoners were racing quite a bit closer to home.
The Haywood NorAm event started with a 1.2-km free sprint on Dec. 8.
Beatty finished second overall in the senior women category after qualifying for the finals in sixth position.
The win went to Julia Kern and third went to Lauren Jortberg.
In the junior women category, Thomson qualified in 10th — 42nd overall — and skied to a 12th-place finish after the ‘B’ final. Jirousek finished 39th in qualification — 80th overall — and failed to advance to the finals.
On Dec. 9, the trio all skied the 10-km interval start classic race.
Beatty finished fifth in the senior women category with a time of 32 minutes and 15.1 seconds.
First place went to Katherine Stewart Jones with a time of 31 minutes and 38.4 seconds. Second and third place went to Becca Rorabaugh and Kern.
In the junior women category, Thomson was 13th with a time of 37 minutes and 3.5 seconds and Jirousek was 29th with a time of 39 minutes and 34.8 seconds.
Novie McCabe was the winner with a time of 33 minutes and 49 seconds, followed by Jasmine Drolet in second and Sofia Sanchez in third.
Beatty said the competition at the event was a fun way to start the season.
“It really brings up the level of domestic competition having some of the best U.S. skiers racing as well,” said Beatty via email. “(The races) definitely weren’t my peak performances, but I am happy with my fitness and power, and I am excited to keep building off last weekend as the season progresses.”
Beatty and a group of other Yukoners are in Canmore, Alta., for the Haywood NorAm World Junior and U23 Trials from Dec. 13 to 16.
Earlier in the month, Nishikawa raced in a Swiss Cup in Ulrichen, Switzerland, on Dec. 1 and 2.
Nishikawa qualified in second spot in the ladies’ 1.2-km sprint classic and finished first in the final with a qualifying time of three minutes and 14.58 seconds. Browne was scheduled to race but did not start.
In the ladies’ 7.5-km free race on Dec. 2, Nishikawa finished just off the podium in fourth and Browne finished second.
The World Cup moves to Davos, Switzerland, next for racing on Dec. 15 and 16 before a two-week break in competition.
Contact John Hopkins-Hill at email@example.com