Gregory Baxter of the Bulkley Valley Nordic ski team on the podium at the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships at the Telemark Ski Area in Kelowna. (Contributed photo)

BV Nordic team impresses at Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships

Bulkley Valley racers get some big finishes in Kelowna ahead of hosting Sunday’s Chris Dahlie race.

On the weekend of Feb. 8-10, members of the BV Nordic ski team travelled down to Kelowna to do their best in the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships at the Telemark Ski Area.

For a number of team members, this was their biggest race they had competed at. It was three days of intense skiing in very cold conditions, with great racing by everyone.

Sprints were exciting to watch with many of our athletes in the heats. Gregory Baxter and Jesse Smids made it to the A and B finals placing fifth and 11th respectively. Jesse was third in his age group. Conor Murphy had a great start for his first heat but then had a tangle with another racer and his pole exploded putting him out of the race. There is not much time to catch up in a sprint race after breaking a pole, unless it happens to be a 007 rocket propulsion specialty pole. Chloe Williston also raced in the sprint B Final and placed 10th.

Zoe Hallman also had a strong weekend of racing, as did Caedmon Dunbar who raced his first 7.5-km distance race. For our Midget athletes, Chloe Williston, Darah Gillis, Caitlyn Gillis, Finley Gagnon, Zephyr Dumais and James Baxter, they all did extremely well in facing the highly competitive fields.

Sunday brought out the thrilling and fun relay races. Starts were postponed an hour due to temperatures being too cold. Some of our athletes had their best races that day, perhaps thanks to the colder climes we northerners train in. Jesse Smids was the third fastest racer in the Junior Boys category of 3.3 km with a time of 8:02, only one mere second off the first skier. Gregory Baxter was the fastest Juvenile Boy for the 3.3 km with a time of 8:16. Most categories had over 45 skiers in them. Gregory’s team placed third overall. All skiers put in excellent efforts and supported each other enthusiastically.

Alan Baxter and Mark Gillis once again did an outstanding job with the waxing for the athletes. Two weeks ago many of these athletes were in Revelstoke for the BC Cup #2 and the waxing conditions were not as easy, but the wax team still pulled it off, finding a good grip for challenging conditions. Their magical skills will be put to the test in a few more races yet this year.

The local Chris Dahlie race is Feb. 24 at our beautiful Bulkley Valley Cross Country Ski Club trails, which will be a great event for all our club athletes and members. Plus, it’s an invitation for local people to come and watch these determined athletes in action, or to participate in the race yourself for a fun challenge. There are age brackets to fit everybody.

The following week, many of the Midgets racers will be going to BC Championships in Salmon Arm, while the Junior and Juvenile athletes prepare to leave for the Canadian National Championships, March 8 in Nakkertok, Quebec, Eastern Canada’s largest ski club. Can our BV Nordic athletes climb higher in the rankings? Stay tuned for more!

–Submitted story

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Caedmon Dunbar of the Bulkley Valley Nordic ski team at the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships at the Telemark Ski Area in Kelowna. (Contributed photo)

Darah Gillis of the Bulkley Valley Nordic ski team at the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships at the Telemark Ski Area in Kelowna. (Contributed photo)

James Baxter of the Bulkley Valley Nordic ski team at the Western Canadian Cross-Country Ski Championships at the Telemark Ski Area in Kelowna. (Contributed photo)

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