Ava Wimbush, #804, of the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club, sprints to a photo-finish second place in a U16 girls race at the BC Cup event in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Feb. 12. (Ben Forsyth photo)

Ava Wimbush, #804, of the Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club, sprints to a photo-finish second place in a U16 girls race at the BC Cup event in Salmon Arm on Saturday, Feb. 12. (Ben Forsyth photo)

Bulkley Valley skiers excel in Salmon Arm

Nordic club skiers racked up 23 Top Ten finishes at BC Cup Feb. 12-13

Bulkley Valley Nordics racers skied their way to 23 top ten finishes at a BC Cup event in Salmon Arm Feb. 12 – 13 including a first place finish for Ryan Chapman in the Masters Men category.

The largest Bulkley Valley Nordics race team in recent history joined nearly 500 other skiers from more than 20 clubs across BC and Alberta to compete at BC Cup #2 at the Larch Hills Ski Trails.

Led by Head Coach Andrew Brisbin, the team of 25 athletes, including four Masters, began the weekend with freestyle sprints on Saturday.

After interval-start qualifying in the morning, the athletes moved on to three additional heats on short, fast courses with six athletes racing head-to-head in each heat. This is cross country skiing’s version of downhill ski-cross, and there were lots of high-speed, highlight-reel crashes.

Under a bright afternoon sun, the team of athletes and parents cheered BV skiers up the menacing final climb, a legendary ascent known as “the beast.”

Onele Laskowski pushed hard up the famous climb and flew across the line in a memorable finish.

Sunday started cool, around -5 °C, but as the sun crossed the sky, the temperature rapidly increased, providing an exciting challenge for the wax team as they busily prepared skis for classic distance races.

Klister was the call from Coach Brisbin and the wax team were soon mired in a re-enactment of Dr. Suess’s famous story, Bartholomew and the Oobleck.

Bulkley Valley athletes were on form, demonstrating excellent striding technique. Once again, racers were forced to contend with “the beast,” sometimes tackling the epic climb twice before kicking hard to the finish line.

U16 athletes Elsa Nisbet and Eden Dunbar matched strides on the challenging course, and close by, their teammate Mila Woudstra. Top ten finished on the day included:

We are now in the heart of the racing season. Several Bulkley Valley Nordics racers will make their way to Vanderhoof for a freestyle event on Saturday, Feb. 19, the final test before the BC Cross Country Ski Championships (scheduled for Prince George’s Otway Ski Trails on March 4 – 6).

The Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club is looking forward to sending a record number of adult and youth racers to the provincial championships.

The final event in this year’s race calendar is the Canadian National Ski Championships in Whistler, March 20 – 27. Once again, a dedicated team of Bulkley Valley U16 and U18 racers will represent Smithers at the highest level of ski racing in the country.

– Submitted, Patrick Williston

TOP TEN FINISHES FEB. 12

Masters Men

Ryan Chapman, 1st

Dan Hamhuis, 4th

Ben Forsyth, 6th

Josh Wimbush, 10th

U18 Girls

Chloe Williston, 6th

U16 Girls

Ava Wimbush, 2nd

U14 Girls

Sacha Fleury-Allen, 3rd

U14 Boys

Jesse Wimbush, 4th

Adrian Wickham, 8th

U12 Girls

Morgan Hamhuis, 3rd

Gigi Gagnon, 4th

U12 Boys

Gabriel Wimbush, U12 boys, 2nd

Benji Wickham U12 boys, 4th

U10 Girls

Juliette Fleury-Allen, 4th

U10 Boys

Ethan Chapman, 10th

TOP TEN FINISHES FEB. 13

U18 Girls

Chloe Williston, 6th

U16 Girls

Ava Wimbush, 5th

U14 Girls

Sacha Fleury-Allen, 9th

U14 Boys

Jesse Wimbush, 6th

U12 Girls

Morgan Hamhuis, 4th

U12 Boys

Gabriel Wimbush, 4th

U10 Girls

Juliette Fleury-Allen, 3rd

U10 Boys

Ethan Chapman, 9th

 

Nico Gagnon of the Bulkley Valley Cross-Country Ski Club shows excellent classic ski technique during BC Cup cross-country ski races in Salmon Arm Feb. 12 - 13. (Ben Forsyth photo)

Nico Gagnon of the Bulkley Valley Cross-Country Ski Club shows excellent classic ski technique during BC Cup cross-country ski races in Salmon Arm Feb. 12 - 13. (Ben Forsyth photo)