Perhaps the best thing about cross-country skiing is that it’s an outdoor event and that means the chances of having a meet of some sort are really good right now.

There’s also a good chance that dozens of people will show up for a meet because they get to do something.

That’s how it went at the Yellowknife Ski Club on the weekend as the NWT Cross-Country Ski Championships emanated from the club’s trails. More than 130 skiers from Yellowknife, Hay River and Fort Smith competed over two days of action and the right to call themselves a territorial champion.

The weekend was split into two parts with the classic technique events on March 20, where skiers left the start line in intervals and skied inside of groomed tracks, and the mass start free technique races the following day, where everyone started together and skied however they liked.

Several of those who entered competed on both days, such as Adam Clinton, who went on to make it a double-winning performance in the boys U14 division, finishing first in both the classic and mass start events.

He said everything went as well as it could have for him on the weekend.

“I had a pretty good race (on Sunday),” he said. “I felt like it was probably a personal best for me, I felt like I raced pretty well.”

Both days were a bit on the chilly side in terms of both air temperature and wind chill but neither value was high enough to force a cancellation, -15 C for air and -20 C for wind chill.

Clinton, though, said the wind was a bit of a factor on day two.

“Everyone was struggling with that,” he said. “Mostly in the bushes, you don’t feel the wind too much but what really kills you is the hills. There’s that one big hill and most skiers lose their energy when they climb it.”

Ben Lothian, right, skies his way through the woods as Charlie Palmer tries to keep pace during the NWT Cross-Country Ski Championships at the Yellowknife Ski Club on March 21.
photo courtesy of Roxane Poulin

Other double-winners on the weekend included Mike Argue in the master men’s open division as Kevin Durkee was forced to play bridesmaid in both of their races. The 7.5-km mass start race, though, produced perhaps the most exciting finish of the weekend Argue won by just two-tenths of a second.

Kira Young was also a two-time champ in the U16 girls division as was Toryn Wheler in the boys U10 division, Emma Wheler in the U8 girls category and Kihew Cabell-White of Fort Smith in the girls U10 division.

Everyone who skied received a cookie medal at the finish line, no matter where they ended up in the final standings.

Shawne Kokelj, president of Cross-Country NWT, said it was real good to see skiers make the trip in from out of town.

There was also praise for the ski club and how it organized things.

“Cross Country NWT is grateful to the event co-ordinator, Kerry Wheler, as well as all of the volunteers who put an incredible number of hours into making an event like this happen: timers, groomers, cookie medal bakers, course officials, announcers, administrators etc.,” she said. “With the large amount of snow received on Friday (before race day), I heard a rumour that the dedicated club groomers were up at 5 a.m. making sure the race trails were in fantastic shape for Saturday.”

Here are the results from the weekend’s festivities:

Classic technique – March 20

Top three in each division

U5 boys (200 metres)

1st – Haku Matsuo, 3:45.4

2nd – Josef Yeoman, 8:35.3

3rd – Iiro Armitage, 10:26.2

U5 girls (200 metres)

1st – Harriet Aiston-Stoichet, 2:45.0

2nd – Eloise Look, 3:19.0

3rd – Nora Magee, 3:48.0

U6 boys (500 metres)

1st – Cole Segboer, 5:06.2

2nd – Barrow Wray, 5:12.5

3rd – Graeme Wood, 6:27.9

U6 girls (500 metres)

1st – Anita Philipovsky, 5:36.7

2nd – Abigail Aiston-Stoichet, 6:04.7

3rd – Sarah Money, 6:14.0

U8 boys (1-km)

1st – Cian Segboer, 8:15.6

2nd – Smith Coombs, 8:41.4

3rd – Holden Reid, 8:45.6

U8 girls (1-km)

1st – Emma Wheler, 7:08.4

2nd – Tara McShane, 9:34.0

3rd – Marley Lok, 10:41.1

U10 boys (2-km)

1st – Peter Kanigan, 11:55.1

2nd – Dylan Skelton, 12:48.3

3rd – Jaxin Coombs, 13:49.0

U10 girls (2-km)

1st – Kihew Cabell-White, 12:50.4

2nd – Aliana Lothian, 14:03.8

3rd – Valda Marrai, 14:09.7

U12 boys (2.5-km)

1st – Toryn Wheler, 12:22.0

2nd – Benjamin Lothian, 13:33.0

3rd – Zachary Young, 14:13.0

U12 girls (2.5-km)

1st – Abbey Zimmer, 14:03.0

2nd – Caris Wood, 14:16.0

3rd – Sula Ray, 15:30.0

U14 boys (3.75-km)

1st – Adam Clinton, 15:36.0

2nd – Isaac Zimmer, 15:49.0

3rd – Kiran Ray, 17:39.0

U14 girls (3.75-km)

1st – Leah McShane, 21:03.0

2nd – Anna Curran, 21:29.0

3rd – Taylor Porter, 21:37.0

U16 boys (5-km)

1st – Makoa Kokelj, 19:37.0

2nd – Joe Curran, 19:54.0

3rd – Aksel Reed, 21:16.0

U16 girls (5-km)

1st – Kira Young, 20:08.0

2nd – Talia Erhlich, 27:32.0

U18 boys (7.5-km)

1st – Morgan Young, 33:27.0

Master men’s open

1st – Mike Argue, 27:42.0

2nd – Kevin Durkee, 30:03.0

3rd – Jon Weller, 30:36.0

Master women’s open

1st – Ella Kokelj, 31:16.0

2nd – Shauna Morgan, 40:39.0

3rd – Wendy Lahey, 51:09.0

Master women’s recreational

1st – Julie Ward, 26:54.3

2nd – Sarah Marrai, 29:10.0

3rd – Tania Hercun, 32:03.0

Mass start – March 21

Top three in each division

U8 boys (1-km)

1st – Finn Marshall, 8:22.0

2nd – Smith Coombs, 9:16.0

U8 girls (1-km)

1st – Emma Wheler, 8:13.8

2nd – Tara McShane, 10:12.3

U10 boys (1-km)

1st – Jaxin Coombs, 5:44.0

2nd – Colin Mahon, 6:03.9

3rd – Peter Kanigan, 6:07.8

U10 girls (1-km)

1st – Kihew Cabell-White, 6:23.8

2nd – Aliana Lothian, 7:11.8

3rd – Pippa Palmer, 7:14.3

U12 boys (2-km)

1st – Toryn Wheler, 8:48.5

2nd – Benjamin Lothian, 9:58.4

3rd – Charlie Palmer, 10:01.4

U12 girls (2-km)

1st – Abbey Zimmer, 10:04.8

2nd – Caris Wood, 11:33.8

3rd – Sadee Mitchell, 12:01.7

U14 boys (3.75-km)

1st – Adam Clinton, 14:14.8

2nd – Isaac Zimmer, 15:39.2

3rd – Kiran Ray, 16:14.7

U14 girls (3.75-km)

1st – Anna Curran, 18:00.0

2nd – Taylor Porter, 20:47.9

3rd – Leah McShane, 21:23.1

U16 boys (5-km)

1st – Joe Curran, 17:20.0

2nd – Malachi Morin, 17:22.6

3rd – Makoa Kokelj, 17:32.4

U16 girls (5-km)

1st – Kira Young, 19:35.7

2nd – Talia Ehrlich, 26:28.0

U18 boys (7.5-km)

1st – Morgan Young, 28:46.2

Master men’s open

1st – Mike Argue, 26:33.8

2nd – Kevin Durkee, 26:34.0

3rd – Jacob Shank, 27:21.0

Master women’s open

1st – Sian Leyshon, 35:16.5

2nd – Tracey Pope, 38:41.7

3rd – Shauna Morgan, 39:54.7

Master men’s recreational

1st – Artur Zhurausky, 27:16.7

Master women’s recreational

1st – Julie Ward, 25:58.6

2nd – Jill Vaydik, 28:21.8

3rd – Rosie Benning, 40:02.3

source: Zone 4

James McCarthy

I've been hanging around the office as the sports editor for the better part of the last 16 years. In August 2022, NNSL Media decided to promote me to the managing editor's position, which I accepted after...

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