Contributed by Matt Smider, Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club
From February 20–23, 1,800 athletes from across the province competed in 18 sporting disciplines at the 2014 BC Winter Games in Mission.
Local cross-country skiers Alana Brittin, Kate and Beth Granstrom and Elizabeth Elliott represented the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club. Brittin collected two gold medals and Elliott added silver, helping to lead the way for a strong Okanagan–Thompson contingent.
The four skiers kicked off the event at the opening ceremonies in Mission, and then headed to Callaghan Valley for their competitions. This impressive venue (site of the 2010 Olympic Nordic events) and accommodations at the Whistler Athletes Centre were highlights for the skiers, mentions Beth Granstrom: “It was cool to ski on the same course as the Olympians, then get to stay in the same dorms they stayed in.”
On Friday morning, skiers competed in the 400m free technique sprint events, beginning with a qualifier to seed skiers for the head-to-head knockout sprints.
Competition was tight over the short 400-metre course, which included a steep uphill, quick downhill and a long, gradual uphill finish. Elizabeth Elliott advanced smoothly throughout the rounds and skied to an impressive second place in the ‘A’ final. Elliott was happy with her performance. “My goal for the season was to medal in this event at BC Winter Games and I did it!” she said.
Alana Brittin won the ‘B’ final, placing fifth overall. Beth Granstrom finished in 11th place and Kate Granstrom was 13th.
Friday afternoon saw the 4×2–kilometre mixed technique relay event. Each team was comprised of two male and two female members from their respective regions. Brittin skied a strong second leg to help the Okanagan–Thompson team win gold. Elliott and Beth Granstrom place seventh in their relay effort and Kate Granstrom’s team placed 10th.
On Saturday morning, the 2000 girls event was a three-kilometre individual start classic race.
Similar to Elliott in the sprints, Brittin saw the classic race as her premiere event of the season. “Classic is my preferred technique and the BC Winter Games are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so I wanted to do well.”
In impressive fashion, Brittin skied to a 25-second victory in the race to earn her second gold medal of the games.
Beth, Elizabeth and Kate finished strongly in 7th, 8th and 9th, respectively. Both Granstrom girls were particularly pleased with their results, as this was also their highlight event of the games and the hilly course played to their advantage.
Revelstoke Nordic Coach Matt Smider was co-coaching the Okanagan–Thompson region at the event. “The BC Games are a great opportunity for the athletes to compete in their first multi-sport event and all our skiers enjoyed this unique experience,” Smider said. “It was an added bonus to see the girls reach their season’s goals at this prestigious competition.”