Yukon XC coach wins four medals at Masters

Whitehorse's Lois Johnston has seen many of her cross-country ski pupils go off to compete nationally and win medals. Last week it was her turn.

Whitehorse’s Lois Johnston has seen many of her cross-country ski pupils go off to compete nationally and win medals. Last week it was her turn.

Johnston, who is a coach with Cross-Country Yukon, won four medals at the Canadian Masters National Cross-Country Ski Championships in Golden, B.C.

“It was a great experience to ski new challenging trails in the mountains,” said Johnston. “It was at elevation as well – it was at Kicking Horse … above the day lodge area.

“It was more than 1,200-metres in elevations. We had everything from rain to glazed ice to fresh snow on ice tracks. So it was a challenging waxing experience.

“I learned a lot from that and really liked it. I really liked the challenge of the waxing.

“And I had four great races.”

Competing in the Masters Women 6 division, Johnston won gold in the 30-kilometre classic, silver in the 20-kilometre skate, silver in the 10-kilometre classic and bronze in the 10-kilometre skate.

“I spend a lot of time helping and teaching skiing, so it’s nice to be able to build on that and do my own competing,” said Johnston.

Her combined results put Johnston – the only Yukoner at the championships – in second place in the overall aggregate standings.

“The best thing was I got the second aggregate,” said Johnston. “If you competed in all four races, they take your times and drill it down to age equivalent.

“Given all those factors I was second overall. That was very encouraging for me.”

After two decades, Johnston returned to competitive skiing a year ago at the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup 2011 at Sovereign Lakes Ski Club in Vernon, B.C.

At the worlds, Johnston placed fourth in the 30-kilometre, seventh in the 10-kilometre free and 11th in the 15-kilometre classic races.

Johnston also won the masters women division at last year’s season-ending Yukon Cross-Country Ski Championships. The fact that she was the only one in the division didn’t seem to bother her.

“I just go for it,” said Johnston. “A lot of people don’t like racing, but I like it. So I just go for it and race with the juniors.”

Contact Tom Patrick at tomp@yukon-news.com