An unfamiliar course, poor visibility and unforgiving conditions didn’t keep four members of the Yukon Alpine Ski Team from strong finishes at the Teck GS/SL Okanagan Zone Races at Sun Peaks in Kamloops, B.C. over the weekend.
Three of them sped into the top half of the field that included U14, U16, U18, para and masters (adult) skiers.
Team veteran and Arctic Winter Games medalist Katie Vowk really crushed it in the slalom.
She placed third out of 11 for under-16 females, and 10th overall out of 35, in the first slalom on Sunday. The 15-year-old then placed seventh overall and fourth for U16 in the second race.
“At the start of that race I was feeling pretty good compared to all my other races. I was in the zone, I guess you could say,” said Vowk. “At the start I just took it easy, got the rhythm, made sure I didn’t get disqualified or anything. At the end, when you see the finish line, you sort of let it go and go all out.”
Vowk also placed sixth in U16 in a giant slalom race Saturday.
In fact, all four Yukon skiers produced better results in the slalom races.
“I train them more in slalom … But now we’ll focus a little more on giant slalom for the Arctic Winter Games,” said Yukon head coach Yves Titley. “For GS, you have to set up a course that’s longer, it’s wider. And because we train while the public is skiing, it’s always a question of safety. That’s why we train more slalom.”
“Actually, I prefer giant slalom more,” said Vowk. “It’s just difficult to get back on GS skis because they are a lot longer, and get back used to them in a short period of time. I didn’t do any warm-up runs in my GS skis because we didn’t have a lot of time.”
Yukon’s Charlie Hawes had some stunningly consistent results for his age group at Sun Peaks. Hawes placed fifth for U16 in both GS races Saturday. After being disqualified in Sunday’s first slalom, he then took fifth again for his age and sixth overall out of 46 racers.
Teammate Shane Orban placed sixth for U16 in the GS races, 20th and 24th overall, and fifth in the slalom, 13th overall.
Manas Toews came seventh in a GS and sixth in a slalom, for U16.
All four skiers are in line to represent the territory at the Arctic Winter Games in Greenland this March. The team will be announced next week.
“I thought it was a very good race. One of the reasons why I chose that race at Sun Peaks was because they had the opportunity to race two separate giant slalom races and two separate slalom races. So a total of four races,” said Titley.
“This is all in preparation for the Arctic Winter Games because the only time they did a race (this season) was at the Arctic Games trials. It’s always good to see where you are compared to other teams.”
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