Arctic temperatures began to ease rather dramatically just in time for three days of cross country ski competition at the Canadian Western Championships held last weekend, January 20-22 at the Canmore Nordic Centre.
This presented challenges for the waxing crew for the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club, Jr. Development team. However, results showed that we were able to keep in concert with changes as they occurred and the weekend was filled with excellence.
The Evans girls, Brittany and Megan continued to prove their confidence among the field, taking wins across the board. On day one of competition in the classic five km, Brittany skied to first place among Jr. Girls, an easy lead of 30 seconds ahead of 2nd place. Hanna Thomson clocked in at 12th and Bronte Viznaugh 18th in the same event. Megan, topped the podium that day winning gold among juvenile girls.
On the second day of competition, Rhys Evans was the big story. On the 0.6 km sprint course, in both qualifiers and early quarterfinal heats, it was obvious who the dominator would be. Rhys exploded out of the start zone, gaining an instant lead using his size and power to his advantage. The A final was no different with Rhys handily taking first place in the boy’s category.
Early in sprint competition in the quarterfinal heat among juvenile girls, Megan blew off course on a fast downhill descent, joined by four other skiers. To spectators, it looked like a rush hour traffic accident. A falter by the leader caused chaos in her wake. Megan fought back, skiing back on course. She advanced to take first place among the B Finalists. This is indicative of Nordic sprint events, the six person horse race held over a short technical course can set up for unpredictable results. Brittany skied to a second place among B Finalists in the 1.2 km sprint event among the Jr. Girls.
On final day of Canadian Westerns under blue skis and -5 C, race conditions could not have been better. In the Jr. Girl’s event, Brittany Evans lead the way on a mass start 10 km course in free technique. She gradually pulled away from the field, broadening her lead over three laps. She won the category the a commanding lead, over 1 minute ahead of her B.C. Team mate Jillian Reynolds. With satisfaction, Brittany entered the stadium with nobody in sight. She looked calm and comfortable throughout the event despite a nasty course with ups/downs providing little relief typical of an Olympic or World Cup course. While Hanna Thomson took a conservative position out of the mass start, she showed her tenacity and determination by slowly overtaking the field of Jr. Girls to complete the course in 12th position. Bronte Viznaugh skied to 20th place.
On the same day of competition, Megan skied the juvenile 6.6 km course, two laps. No disappointment, as she again took a first place finish, dusting three members of the Canmore Nordic Club who trailed her on their own home course. Team mate Gina Cinelli did a formidable job on this course, clocking an 18th place finish. Rhys had a strong race as well among Midget boys skiing a fast paced, challenging 3.3 km course and going home with bronze.
Emily Suchy had her first taste of elite competition at Westerns competing in women’s sit skiing 5 km distance event in a time of 26:49. On first day of competition she also sit skied a short distance 3 km event in 13:30.
Best results for other members of the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club for the weekend include: Kellen Viznaugh – 21st in the 0.6 km free sprints midget boys; Tayla Koerber – 22nd in the 5 km classic juvenile girls; and Daniel Blackie 36th in the 2.5 km classic midget boys.
The Canadian Westerns provide a setting for developing athletes to gain experience. Congratulations to all with your effort and commitment to race and train. We are proud of you!