The Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club (BVCCSC) sent eight skiers and two coaches to represent Zone 7 to the BC Winter Games Feb. 20-23. This mini-olympics extravaganza featured more than 1,200 participants from around BC to converge on Fort St. John for over a dozen winter sports for youth aged 13 and 14 years old. Coaches Patrick Williston and Melanie Dumont accompanied the athletes to this memorable event, which included grand opening and closing ceremonies and opportunities for the kids to challenge themselves against the other provincial zone racers.
The cross-country races were held at Beatton Provincial Park just north of Fort St. John, and fortunately the temperatures rose from extremely cold pre-event levels, to much more reasonable for the competitions to run.
All the Smithers athletes expressed how fortunate they felt to be there, and were pleased with their personal results.
Ava Wimbush particularly shone, achieving silver medals for both the skate sprint and the classic interval races in her Midget category.
Other top ten finishers included Scott Clarke-Doering (6th in sprints, 10th in classic-Juvenile), Chloe Williston (8th in classic Juvenile), and Zephyr Dumais (10th in sprints Juvenile).
Most others just were shy of the top ten and within the top 15, and still raced well including in the Midgets Catherine DeGisi (11th in both races) and Ari Rath Jenne (13th in sprints, 12th in classic). In the Juvenile division, Williston got 11th in the sprints, Dumais got 14th in classic, Darah Gillis achieved 14th in each race, and Nick Schley got 18th in classic and 19th in sprints.
Other Zone 7 members who raced but not from the BVCCSC club were Madison Macdonald from Burns Lake who skied to 15th in both Midget sprint and classic, and Gianna Vandenberg reached 17th in Juveniles both races.
On the last day, the kids were grouped up into different relay teams, and managed an 8th place and 13th place finish.
“Great teamwork everyone!,” said Perry Rath, a parent of one of the skiers. “And many thanks for Patrick and Melanie for taking on the many roles to ensure our racers were prepared and well taken care of. It was an unforgettable experience.”