Alan Baxter finishing up from preparing skis for race day. (Contributed photo)

Bulkley Valley Nordic racers in Canadian Ski Championships

Four Bulkley Valley cross-country skiers travelled to Quebec for the national championships.

Bulkley Valley Nordic racers Zoe Hallman, Gregory Baxter, Connor Murphy and Jesse Smids participated in the 2019 national championships in Gatineau, Quebec last week.

They have been training hard all year and have been looking forward to this opportunity to ski at the national level at the Nakkertok Nordic Centre with their peers. Klister conditions made race wax challenging, but by teaming up with Matt Smidder of the Revelstoke team, coach Alan Baxter provided fast skis to the racers.

Zoe is an amazing hill climber, and is fearless on the downhills. Her strength in the sprints really shone through, with an eighth place finish in the Junior Girls Individual Sprint race, and an inspiring performance in the Mixed Relay Sprints with teammate Jesse Smids, the most exciting race to watch for Bulkley Valley.

Jesse and Zoe were on their game and really showed how well they can ski. They dominated their heat and were dominating the final until Jesse had a minor fall. Falling dropped them from first to fifth, then Zoe lit it up on the climb to get back to first. Jesse held it on lap three. Zoe then brought it home on lap four and we watched an amazing double pole to finish between Zoe and a boy from Kimberly. Unfortunately, the boy’s legs were longer and he outstretched Zoe for the finish by .02 of a second.

Jesse had his strongest races of the season this week, with several finishes in the top 20. His favorite races are the distance, and the closing day 15 km Classic was no exception. He skied this one smart and executed his plan well. He wanted to be in the front group to avoid being boxed in with slower skiers and to avoid crashes. This worked for the most part; he did get boxed in a couple of times but was able to get around without significant hold ups. He did have to avoid one crash where he stepped over a fallen skier who was spinning down the trail on his back (mass starts are mayhem). Jesse started out 28th in a field of 95 racers and skied up to 18th for an awesome finish.

Imagine a mass start Pursuit Race with 200 competitors. Gregory broke a pole 600 m out, got a replacement pole 10 cm shorter but it did the trick. After some intense skiing he finished in 12th place, and 10th place combined.

This fighting spirit and quick tempo shone throughout the competitions for Gregory. With the exception of the Individual Sprint, in which he became airborne on a corner (still placing 15th), Greg’s finishes moved steadily faster. The final day he finished sixth in the 10 km Classic Juvenile Boys category. Overall, Greg placed ninth for aggregate points at this competition out of 112 juvenile boy competitors. Top 10 in Canada is a fine showing for a skier from BV Nordics.

Conor dealt with a sinus infection early in the competitions, so what he was not able to put on the course he put into cheering his B.C. team. He was able to get a taste of the competition later in the week. In the classic distance race, he had a tough starting position 85 out of 105 competitors. However, he skied well to move up 25 places to 60th. This experience will serve him well next year.

This crew have been very focused and self-directed in their training this season. Huge nod to coaches Geoff Recknell, Lisa Perry and Irene Ronalds who prepared them well, and to Alan Baxter for supporting them throughout the event.

–Submitted article.

 

Conor Murphy climbing hard. (Contributed photo)

Gregory Baxter moving fast. (Contributed photo)

Jesse Smids hammering up the hill. (Contributed photo)

Zoe Hallman hammering it up a hill climb. (Contributed photo)

Just Posted

Town council votes to reclassify LB Warner lot for residential use

Smithers just got one step closer to more affordable housing, but there are still many to go

Nisga’a leader named UNBC chancellor

Dr. Joseph Arthur Gosnell is the first Indigenous leader to assume the role

A medical first saved Ryan Jones’ life

The 25-year-old Smithers man is almost fully recovered after being effectively dead.

Steelheads recruiting event shows promise

A small but enthusiastic group of organizers is hoping to put a Smithers team back in the CIHL

Fletcher disregards facts on climate action

Letter writer Macrae says inaction jeopardizes jobs

VIDEO: Driver in bizarre hit-and-run at B.C. car dealership turns herself in

Police believe alcohol was a factor in incident causing estimated $15,000 in damages

‘B.C. cannot wait for action’: Top doctor urges province to decriminalize illicit drugs

Dr. Bonnie Henry says current approach in ‘war on drugs’ has criminalized and stigmatized drug users

Canfor curtailing operations across B.C.

Low lumber prices and the high cost of fibre are the cause of curtailment

B.C. woman, 76, challenges alcohol-screening laws after failing to give breath sample

Norma McLeod was unable to provide a sample because of her medical conditions

New report on 2017 wildfires calls for better coordination with B.C. First Nations

Tsilhqot’in National Government documents 2017 disaster and lists 33 calls to action

B.C. youth coach banned amid sexual harassment, bullying scandal: Water Polo Canada

Justin Mitchell can’t take part in Water Polo Canada events or clubs

Wilson-Raybould: Feds want to just ‘manage the problem’ of Indigenous Peoples

Former federal justice minister speaks at First Nations Justice Council meeting in B.C.

Haida youth travels to New York for UN forum on Indigenous issues

Haana Edensaw presented her speech in Xaad Kil, Masset dialect of the Haida language

Female real estate agents warned of suspicious man in Metro Vancouver

The man requests to see homes alone with the female agent, police say

Most Read