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BLAZING THE TRAIL – Mackenzie Jenner races in the giant slalom race during Alpine Yukon's Yukon Cup April 1 at Mt. Sima near Whitehorse. He was the first Yukoner to compete in an alpine FIS race this past weekend at Sima.

Mack Jenner first Yukoner to compete in alpine FIS Cup race

Mackenzie "Mack" Jenner finished all his runs at the FIS Aurora Cup ski races at Mount Sima this past weekend.

By Morris Prokop on November 23, 2023

Mackenzie "Mack" Jenner finished all his runs at the FIS Aurora Cup ski races at Mount Sima this past weekend.

He was the first Yukoner to compete in an alpine FIS event.

The Star spoke with Jenner before the races this past weekend and asked him how he was feeling about the opportunity placed before him.

"I'm excited. A little nervous. You know races always make you a little nervous. But I'm also feeling pretty confident now. I'm not there to podium or anything. I'm just just there to do good, to finish.

"It's the first race of the season. I've only been skiing for about a week or two now. I just try to finish and just have a good time, a reasonable time."

Jenner explained his pre-race training regimen.

"I've been training at CGC (Canada Games Centre) every single day, besides the weekends, and then on weekends I've been skiing from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and I've also been fitting in a few extra days throughout the week."

As for how he was feeling, Jenner said, "Physically, I'm feeling strong. All the workouts I've been doing have been adding up and it's gonna help me along the way, that's for sure."

Jenner was asked what it means be the first Yukoner to participate in an alpine FIS race.

"It's pretty big to me, because I don't know anybody here who's done that. But I think it's a pretty big opportunity. Because it only happens once a year here. And it's only happened since last year. So it feels pretty cool to be right up there. A few years, in time, there will be more athletes like me who will be hopefully doing this race right from the Yukon. But so far, it feels pretty special."

Jenner explained how the opportunity came about.

"When I went down to Canada Winter Games in P.E.I., I managed to place top 10, seventh place, in ski cross. A few months later they gave me an invite, one of the trials for the Youth Olympic Games and in order to try out for that you need certain certifications. I got those and thought, 'well I guess I might as well race here' like, I had a little bit of an advantage."

The Star ran into him after his two slalom runs Sunday.

"My goal was to finish, right, so finished all my runs, super-awesome with that,” he said.

"I think I did as good as I wanted to to do. Coming into the race, I felt like, 'I just have to finish.' That's what I did. I completed it."

Jenner said he finished right around where he was expecting to.

"It's my first FIS race ever. It's huge for me. It's amazing."

He added he was happy with his results.

When asked what he learned from the experience, Jenner said, "I just learned how much more competition there is and how many more people there are in the sport and I just love that. It's so cool to see.

"Yesterday, I thought it was going to be icier, because there's 40, 50 guys in front of me, right, but the snow held up good, clean runs, I had a great time."

Jenner said the blizzard-like conditions on Saturday were not great to compete in.

"I thought it was going to be awesome, yesterday, because it was so – like a bluebird day yesterday. And I was just about to go down, all the clouds come in. Super-windy, gates were going everywhere, you could only see three feet in front of you. You couldn't see anything else. And then I managed to finish those two runs just fine and it turned out better than I thought.”

Jenner found the conditions Sunday much better than Saturday's.

"It was beautiful today. Even though it was a little colder, it was fun. There's something about today that was special. Just the people around, you get to ski with the best, right. Like the Alaskan team, they have some of the best in the world, right? Like (a few) feet away from them, at times. It's not every day you get to be beside the best."

Jenner said that had a lot to do with Sunday being special for him.

He said he felt a lot more comfortable the second day.

"I thought the FIS race was gonna be serious. It's pretty relaxed. I had a good time. It felt good today."

Jenner added a thanks to his coaches and "a big thank you to everyone who supported me."

This is his only stop on the FIS tour, but Jenner has been invited to the ski cross youth Olympic trials in Nakiska, Alberta.

The training starts Dec. 1 and the trials are Dec. 7-10.

"It consists of five days of training with Olympic athletes and ski cross coaches from Canada. And then after that they expect you to compete in the Nor-Ams, which is a big North American race person just underneath the World Cup. It's pretty big for a Yukoner to go there.

"The training is to get a feel of ski cross and give you tips and stuff," related Jenner. "And then go show your skills at the big race and be selected from there."

Jenner is guaranteed a spot in the Nor-Am race.

The Youth Olympics are in Gangwon province in South Korea Jan. 19-Feb. 1.

As for his career goals, Jenner said, "The Olympics are definitely in my sight. Hopefully one day I can make the Olympics. Obviously, it's probably not gonna happen for a while, but maybe. Who knows?

"But right now my sights are to make the junior Youth Olympic team for skicross, and that's for January 2024. Then after that, we'll see where it really takes me I guess. So kind of looking at things, maybe joining another team; we'll see."

Back at Mount Sima, Jenner was looking forward to the ski cross youth Olympic trials in Nakiska.

"A little training camp, get skicross ready, and then right after, the Nor-Ams in Nakiska too. So, that'll be awesome."

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