Skiers from the Yukon Ski Team will be leaving today to compete at the Sovereign Lake Open cross country races outside of Vernon, B.C.
The 13 athletes travelling to B.C. will compete in both classic and skate races. It will be the skiers first Outside races of the season but Cross Country Yukon head coach Alain Masson said the team has been practicing for a while.
“We’ve been on skis for a while now,” said Masson. “It’s not the best conditions because there isn’t a lot of snow. It’s thin around the chalet. We haven’t been able to put the track in for classic but we have been skate skiing and able to train.”
Masson said Cross Country Yukon will use the Sovereign Lake Open as the clubs selection process to decide who will be able to go to other Outside events. It is the first time the club has done it this way.
“In the past, we would do selection races in Whitehorse for skiers to meet the criteria to go Outside,” said Masson.
“They will use these races to try and qualify. There is not a huge pool and we thought it would be better to attend bigger races to better identify ability.
“It gives the skiers a better chance and eliminates variables. It’s our first time doing it this way.”
As well, Masson noted, that it gives the skiers an opportunity to compete and demonstrate their ability to ski and adapt to the atmosphere of a large race.
During the races, Masson just wants the skiers to perform to the best of their abilities.
“We are looking for them to race as well as they can,” said Masson. “I know from experience that not everyone will do their best. But if they race with energy and technique they will have good results. I’m hoping they all do their best.”
After the B.C. race, five skiers will continue on to Canmore, Alta. for the Haywood NorAm YOG Trials/US Super Tour from Dec. 6-8.
Masson said it will be the more experienced, older skiers attending.
“The older, more accomplished skiers will be going,” said Masson. “This competition is used by the Canadian team for the Youth Olympics. For the skiers, it’s a bit of an unknown and we will see where they stand.”
The ski season will not be slowing down heading into the holidays. Once the team returns from Canmore the 2020 Arctic Winter Games trials will begin on Dec. 14 and 15. The tryouts will be open to U 18, 16 and 14 athletes.
Masson said there will hopefully be more snow before the trials begin because as of now it is difficult to use the course.