By Matt Smider/Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club
Revelstoke Nordic skiers are returning home with much to be proud of after the 2016 Ski Nationals held in Whitehorse, Yukon from March 19–26. Seven local athletes and two Revelstoke Nordic alumni trekked northward to the territory and competed against more than 600 of Canada’s top cross county skiers. Alana Brittin, Elizabeth Elliott, Beth Granstrom and former Revelstoke Nordic team member and current Carleton University student, Megan Evans led the way for Revelstoke with numerous top 10 finishes. As a team, Revelstoke finished a best-ever 15th out of 61 clubs at the event, including a strong 10th place amongst the Junior categories.
Ski Nationals kicked off on Saturday March 19 with a 2x3km Classic Team Sprint for the Challenge Girls. Athletes partnered up with their teammates in close-quartered, heat racing. The Challenge Girls category ranges from birth years 1998–2001. Our 2000 girls put forth two teams to the semi-finals. Alana and Elizabeth skiing a blistering fast pace to qualify for the final, where they finished 8th. Kate and Beth skied a strong semi final, however failed to qualify for the finals and finished in 20th position out of 47th teams. Megan Evans anchored her Carleton University team to a 3rd place finish in the 2×3.6km University Women’s Team Sprint.
On Sunday, the Juvenile Boys and Girls and the Junior Women competed in a 5km Classic Interval Start race. Alana led the way for Revelstoke with a bronze medal in the highly competitive 76-skier field of Juvenile Girls. Beth skied to a strong 9th place; Elizabeth was 15th; Kate was 19th; and Miika Park finished in 51st position. On the boys side, Simon Blackie was the top Revelstoke skier in 35th and Erik Brosch finished in 43rd in an equally competitive 71-skier Juvenile Boy field. In the Junior Women, Megan Evans placed 7th and another former Revelstoke Nordic team member, Tayla Koerber finished in 22nd. In the University Women category, Megan finished 2nd, while Tayla, competing for U of A – Augustana, placed 18th. Note: The Juvenile categories are comprised of skiers born in 2000 and 2001 and the Junior Women category skiers are born in 1996 and 1997.
Tuesday’s event was a Free Interval Start for all categories. The Juvenile Girls skied 5km, while the Juvenile Boys skied 7.5km and Junior Women raced 10km. Beth topped the Revelstoke Juvenile results with a 6th place finish; Elizabeth was 16th; Alana finished 26th; Kate crossed the line in 38th; and Miika was 48th position. Simon skied to a 32nd place finish with Erik close behind in 37th. Megan challenged the leaders, placing 5th in the Junior Women and 3rd in the University Women, while Tayla finished 19th and 16th in those respective categories.
Wednesday and Thursday’s events were the fast and furious Free Technique Sprints with the Junior Women sprinting a 1.2km course on Wednesday and the Juvenile categories speeding around a 1km track on Thursday. Megan placed 16th and Tayla was 20th in the Junior Women’s category. Wednesday’s sprints marked the end of the 2016 Canadian College and University Nordic Championships, with Megan finishing in 2nd overall for the competition and Tayla completing the event in 18th. In the Juvenile Girls sprint, Alana, Elizabeth and Beth qualified inside the top 30 to compete in the head-to-head heats. Alana powered her way to a 4th place finish in the A-Final; an under-the-weather Elizabeth skied to a gutsy 10th place in the B-Final, while Beth finished in 15th. Kate and Miika finished 52nd and 63rd respectively in the qualifier. On the boys side, Simon skied to a 45th position and Erik ended up in 54th.
The week’s finale was a Classic Mass Start with a distance of 7.5km for the Juvenile Girls, 10km for the Juvenile Boys and 20km for the Junior Women. Beth and Alana worked together and finished strongly in 4th and 5th place, respectively. Kate completed the event on a high note in 20th and Elizabeth was 34th. The Juvenile Boys also ended their season with top results, with Erik fighting to an impressive 22nd and Simon right behind in 26th. Finally, Megan endured the distance race in fine fashion, finishing 7th among the Junior Women.
The 2016 Ski Nationals was a world-class event organized by the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club and a team of over 250 volunteers. Ski Nationals is the premiere domestic event for Canadian cross country skiers and Revelstoke Nordic skiers proved to be a formidable force amongst the nation’s top athletes. Our athletes would like to extend their thanks for the financial support provided to attend Ski Nationals from the Revelstoke Credit Union, Knights of Pythias and the Revelstoke Nordic Ski Club. In addition, our well-oiled parental support team proved flawless in their planning and organization prior to and during Ski Nationals. Athletes and their families can now proudly enjoy a much-deserved rest after an exceptional ending to a long, ski season.