While one of their own races at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, the Mount Lorne Ski Club hosted their annual Lorne Mountain Classic ski race for those hoping to one day be there themselves.
The Saturday afternoon race at Mount Lorne saw 137 athletes enter in the classic races, which was held in a variety of distances based on age group.
With the different categories, chief of race Karen McKenna said the event is for everyone, from up-and-coming skiers at the age of three to more experiences masters skiers.
“For the kids it’s kind of nice to be split up because a lot of our skiers are younger so we have a lot of bunnies who are aged three to six and then a lot of jackrabbit skiers, six to nine, and it’s nice to have a length of trail that works well for the skiers,” she said.
This was the first organized race for many of the younger skiers and McKenna said it gave them a chance to learn race protocol – and that it is OK to cross the finish line.
“We want to encourage more kids to try out the race and feel comfortable going around a race course and lining up at the start,” she said. “In past years we had some kids come to the finish line and not want to cross the finish line and afraid of the line in snow.”
Although the number of participants was on par with recent years, this was the first time a club from Juneau, Alaska came down to compete.
McKenna said the coach of the team is also a runner and has booked the community association facility in the past to stay in while training.
This year, the coach decided to bring a ski contingent down for the race.
“A lot of Yukon skiers don’t have a lot of other people their ages, so it’s great to have opportunity to race against unknown skiers in your age category on a course in your territory,” McKenna said.
In the juvenile boy’s race, Finn Morley from Juneau won with Aaron Blust placing third.
The team swept the juvenile girl’s race with all five competitors and Linnea Lentfer coming in first place.
It was the atom and peewee boy’s races that had the most overall competitors with 18 and 17 finishers respectively.
Whitehorse skier Micah McConnell won the atom race, with Logan Tirschmann out of the Lorne Mountain club finishing 4.5 seconds back in second.
In a tight two-person peewee race, Felix Masson finished in first place just over two seconds ahead of Simon Connell.
McKenna, who co-founded the ski club back in 2001, said many former skiers who went through the club and members of the Yukon ski team are helping out with the younger skiers at their weekly Friday practices.
Constance Lapointe and Abigail Jirousek, both members of the Yukon squad, are coaches for the young beginners.
The club started as a way to introduce young athletes to skiing and the race was started shortly after to give a competitive aspect.
Club alumni include Olympian Knute Johnsgaard who grew up in the Lorne Mountain ski club program before joining the Yukon ski program in Whitehorse.
So these Olympic Games have been quite the experience for the Mount Lorne community watching one of their own on the international stage.
“It’s really big for Lorne Mountain,” McKenna said. “It’s really exciting.”