By Matt Smider, Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club
This past weekend, six members of the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Team travelled the long road to Prince George to compete in the 2016 Western Canadian Championships. Over 250 skiers from across western Canada competed in the three-day event held at the Otway Nordic Center and hosted by the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club.
This event was of particular importance to open male and female athletes who were seeking opportunities to represent Canada at the World Cup level in the upcoming Ski Tour Canada.
Racers were treated to sunny skies and daytime highs consistently above 0 C. Volunteers with the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club ran a superb event, particularly with the marginal snow conditions. The race trails at Otway are notorious for their gruelling climbs and lightning fast, corkscrew descents, ensuring competitors maintain the utmost focus to stay on their feet.
Friday’s event was an interval start free technique with all Revelstoke skiers competing over 3.75 kilometres. Revelstoke Juveniles swept both the 2000 girls category and overall Juvenile Girls podium, led by Elizabeth Elliott in first, Beth Granstrom in second and Alana Brittin in third. Simon Blackie placed third and Erik Brosch finished seventh in the 2001 boys event. Jaclyn Elliott raced to a fourth place in the 2003 Girls category.
On Saturday, Juvenile skiers competed in the 800 metre classic sprint race, with a morning qualifier and afternoon heats. Once again, Revelstoke girls took honours with Alana and Elizabeth topping both the 2000 girls and overall Juvenile girls podium, racing to first and second respectively in the sprint final. Beth ended up in sixth for the 2000 girls. Simon was fourth and Erik ninth in the 2001 boys. The 2003 girls raced a 1.1 kilometre classic interval start where Jaclyn finished fifth.
To cap off this whirlwind event, Sunday saw competitors race a hair-raising mass start classic race. Juvenile girls raced a 7.5-kilometre course and Alana Brittin captured her third medal of the weekend with a first place in the 2000 girls, and second overall in the Juvenile category. Beth and Elizabeth both recovered from a couple of bad falls on the icy downhills (remember, these cross country race skis do not have metal edges) to place fourth and fifth, respectively. Simon took home his second medal of the weekend by grinding out a third in the 2001 boys category on a gruelling 10 kilometre course. Meanwhile Erik fought back after a crash and broken pole at the start to finish in sixth out of the 2001 boys on the same challenging terrain. Jaclyn sped her way around a five kilometre course and finished fourth amongst the 2003 girls.
Revelstoke skiers showed that they are coming into top form with the season’s title events fast approaching. Erik and Simon, along with Miika Park and Kolibri Drobish will compete in the BC Winter Games in Penticton this weekend. They will reunite with the rest of the team at the BC Championships in Whistler the following weekend. Finally, our Juvenile-aged skiers will be travelling to the National Championships in Whitehorse, YK, from March 19–26.