Back in November while reviewing race schedules for the upcoming season, I noticed a listing for the Canadian Master's Nationals.
Having been to U.S. Master's National the last time they were in Anchorage, the chance to race at a different venue sounded interesting. The schedule included 20k and 10k skake races on monday and wednesday, followed by a 10k classic race on thursday and the 20th annual 30k NorthwesTel Yukon Loppet on saturday. Races were held on the superbly groomed trails at Mt. McIntyre, just a few km from town. Site of the Arctic Winter Games in 2000 and the first world cup nordic events held in North America (1981), Mt. Mac is a first class facility complete with several waxing stations, showers/sauna, restaurant, and of course an indoor curling rink. Many trails are lit for night skiing. The Whitehorse ski club has over 900 members.
Travel to the Yukon is easy but somewhat limited, with only 2 daily flights from Vancouver. Flights to Whitehorse are also available from Calgary a few times a week. The airlines did me a great disservice by delaying my skis for 3 days. People at the local ski club in Whitehorse were very freindly and generously offered me skating skis to use for the first event. The skis worked well, as I recorded the fastest time in the opening 20k race in warm conditions, near freezing with a few cm of new snow. Conditions for the short races were more seasonable, just below zero F. The 10k skate race had an exciting finish, ending up in a sprint between myself and Brian Healy from Alberta.
Sunny and very cold conditions greeted nearly 400 skiers for the 30k race, which was delayed until it warmed up to
-25 C at noon. The overnight low was around -35 C. The course covered many sections of traditional single track, perfect terrain for classic skiing. Brian Healy was the overall winner, while I was happy to place well in the top 10, still feeling all appendiges. Solda F15 covered with S20 worked well in the opening race, while S30 and Power Jet 3 (Speed Cold solid) glided well in the cold snow.