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MEDAL HAUL - Yukon cross-country skier Lois Johnston shows off her silver and bronze medals on Wednesday. She won them at the Masters World Cup 2019 in Beistølen, Norway. Photo by Tom Seifert

Yukoner snags two medals in Norway

Yukon cross-country skier Lois Johnston has won two medals at the Masters World Cup (MWC) 2019 in Beistølen, Norway.

By Whitehorse Star on March 14, 2019

Yukon cross-country skier Lois Johnston has won two medals at the Masters World Cup (MWC) 2019 in Beistølen, Norway. The MWC is a competition for skiers aged 30 and up. Johnston has won a bronze and a silver.

Johnston snared her silver medal on Wednesday in the 30-kilometre classic race. She said conditions were tough out on the trails.

"We had received a half-metre of fresh snow (on Wednesday)," said Johnston. "It was pretty deep slogging, but it was good. We left last; we didn't leave until 12:05 p.m.; the tracks get pretty chewed up when the snow is soft."

Despite the conditions, Johnston just focused on what she could control.

"I just kept thinking technique and tactics," said Johnston. "Some of the hills had a foot and a half snow on them so it was just head down on the track."

Johnston finished the race in a time of two hours, two minutes, and 44 seconds. The race was won by Lubov Pospeshina of Sweden.

At the WMC, Johnston said Canada has the largest contingent of skiers, with 150 competitors. She said she is grateful for the support.

"I really appreciate the support to do your best," said Johnston. "The support is inspiring. (In the 30-kilometre) I had friends do a feed and someone to hold water for me down the trail."

Johnston said it’s also great to have so many people supporting each other.

"I had a lot of cheers," said Johnston. "They (the Canadians) are absolutely marvellous at cheering. It is a lovely experience."

Her bronze medal was won last Friday in a 15-kilometre classic race. She said on that day the conditions were ideal, with nice and dry snow.

She finished the race in 54:31.0 for third. Johnston got to share the podium with fellow Canuck Pat Pearce, who posted the winning time of 47:39.0.

"It was nice to share the podium with Pat," said Johnston. "She is a top skier. She is a class above and very strong. We train together at SilverStar Mountain in Vernon, B.C."

Johnston is no stranger to the podium at the Master World Cup. She has medalled before in Italy and Finland; however, she said she is very happy to win in Norway because it’s the heart of cross-country.

She almost had a third medal in Beistølen but was passed in the final moments of the 10-kilometre free race.

"I was in third until the last seven seconds," said Johnston. "All of a sudden, this woman passes me, and I was like, 'what?' The moral of that is don't let yourself relax on your speed. You have to try as hard as you can because you never know, just keep working hard."

Johnston finished the race in a time of 32:45.0. The woman who passed Johnston for third was Carolyn Tiernan of the United States. She finished seven seconds ahead.

It is Johnston's first time in Beistølen, but she says it has some of the best trails in the world.

"Beistølen has a world-class cross country trail network," said Johnston. "It is wonderful to race on them. They are very flowing with lots of transitional work. I have never been before, it is a cross-country skiers dream."

On her days off from racing and training, instead of taking a break from skiing, Johnston is still going out on the trails.

"On days off, I get to ski the beautiful trails and get to see some beautiful views," said Johnston. "It is much like the White Pass if there were ski trails."

When she’s not competing, Johnston coaches teenagers in the sport, and said she loves the training and mixing it up with them.

Johnston says her goal for racing in the MWC is to inspire people.

"I want to inspire adults to just keep at it, keep going," said Johnston. It keeps you fit and it gives you good focus."

Johnston will now be travelling from Beistølen to Lillehammer to compete in the Birkebiener 54-kilometre world loppet.

After skiing to two medals at the MWC, Johnston said she is going to ski the loppet moderately, with some of her Canadian friends whom she trains with in the fall.

Comments (2)

Up 4 Down 1

Susan on Mar 17, 2019 at 6:55 pm

Lois...you are amazing.! Congratulations and thank you for being such an inspiration
Susan Whalen Bunkis

Up 3 Down 2

Carol Beck on Mar 14, 2019 at 6:34 pm

My first MWC was in Norway in 1984. After the races we went on to Lillehammer for the Birke. Don't relax get your silver marker. It was the highlight of my racing career. I took your photo for you in Asiago when you got your medal there. Congratulations!

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