BV Nordic Cross Country Ski Club sees strong showing at Teck BC Champsionships

EDITOR’S NOTE: This event took place before a number of provincial restrictions pertaining to sporting events and congregations of large groups of people.

A number of BV Nordic Cross Country Ski Club members came back with hardware after the team sent 15 athletes to compete in the Teck BC Championships held at the Telemark Nordic Centre in West Kelowna earlier this month.

The competition saw a total of 659 racers registered, coming from 32 clubs: 20 from BC, 4 from Alberta, 3 from the USA, 2 from Ontario, and a club from each of the Northwest Territories, Norway and Australia. There was some amazing competition to watch, and very impressive technique, stamina and speed from these racers. While larger clubs from Southern BC dominated the event overall in the standings, the BV Nordic Cross Country Ski Club demonstrated great determination and promise throughout the event.

Day one was the mass start freestyle technique, which is essentially skate-skiing. With upwards of 50-80 competitors per age category, the challenge for skiers became to maintain their speed and balance amidst a potential tangle of poles and skis while jockeying for position.

The club’s highest achievers for the day were Nico Gagnon, nabbing the bronze medal in the U12-2 Boys category, and Ava Wimbush capturing 4th in the U14-2 Girls category.

Other BV team racers with their finish placement: Jess Wimbush U12-2 Boys 13th; Ari Rath Jenne U14-2 Boys 17th; Catherine De Gisi U14-2 Girls 16th; U16-1 Girls Chloe Williston 11th, Darah Gillis 19th, Caitlyn Gillis 20th; U16-1 Boys Zephyr Dumais 16th, Ronan Nisbet 21st; Caedmon Dunbar U16-2 Boys 13th; Conor Murphy U18-1 Boys 10th.

Day two brought the classic interval start to the competition. The waxing team was onsite early to check for snow conditions, snow and air temperatures and make a final determination on the grip wax to use. Our skiers put in great efforts again, with a few extra of our team joining in today after abstaining from the first day races. Genevieve Gagnon cruised across the finish line at 10th in the U10-1 Girls category. In the U12-2 Boys category, Jesse Wimbush and Nico Gagnon finished at 6th and 8th respectively, only 6 seconds apart.

In the U14-2 Girls, Ava Wimbush nailed a bronze-medal pace, while Catherine De Gisi and Finley Gagnon finished 20th and 21st. Ari Rath Jenne achieved a negative split on his laps to place 17th again this day. A negative split is when a racer clocks a faster second lap than first, and it is a rarer and desirable goal. Chloe Williston also achieved a negative split on her race in the U16-1 Girls group, capturing 9th place, while Darah Gillis got 16th. Zephyr Dumais pushed to 19th, and Ronan Nisbet 21st in the U16-1 Boys.

Caedmon Dunbar raced to 15th in the Boys U16-2, and in the U18-1 Boys section, Gregory Baxter coming off of jetlag returning from a European circuit for the BC Team in the Alps got 8th with Conor Murphy getting 10th.

Sunday was the fun relay day, so the pressure was lighter and the atmosphere a bit more festive, as racers looped around the well-designed courses at Telemark. In the U14 Boys category, the Lightning Guitar Monsters of Ari, Nico and Jesse raced to 14th. The mass start of this race created chain-reaction pile-up in one of the lanes, but fortunately Ari avoided it as the racers rushed out of the starting zone.

Two of our U14 Girls racers, Ava Wimbush and Catherine De Gisi, teamed with Annika Wallin from Williams Lake Ski Club to capture 3rd.

In the U20 Boys, Bulkley Thunder consisting of Zephyr, Conor and Caedmon raced to 16th, and for the Girls category of this age group, the Sparkle Unicorn Penguins of Chloe, Darah and Caitlyn, adorned with facial sparkles, skied to 16th. In the Open Men, Ronan Nisbet joined a couple other guys in the Leftovers, to ski to 14th.

Our BV representatives supported each other well during this event, and many thanks go out to the waxing team, coaches and parent support network to make this year a successful and fun one. Most skiers improved in an upward trajectory throughout the season and ended it in top form.

This race turned out to be the unexpected end of the season, since the development of COVID-19 led to the cancellation of the Nationals this year, and our local Wetzin’kwa Loppet race within a week of this BC Championships. So, our club will look to continue with organizing off-season training to be able to start next year with a fit club.

-Article submitted by Perry Rath

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