Note: This story has been updated to include quotes from third-place finisher Zoe Roy.
On the final day of racing in the Haywood NorAms in Whistler, British Columbia, on Sunday, Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/CNST) won her second event of the weekend with her victory in the 10 k classic individual start race with a time of 33:03.1 on the course. Amanda Ammar (Canmore Nordic Ski Club) finished second (+13.6) and Zoe Roy (Rocky Mountain Racers/Stella Racing) completed the podium in third (+34.0).
With her second outright win of the weekend’s races, which also serve as the Canadian U23 and Junior World Championships trials, Nishikawa has all but guaranteed herself a spot on the U23 team. The National Ski Team is expected to make its official selection within the next two days, but race winners generally get an automatic berth on the squad.
In contrast to the snowy conditions on Saturday for the freestyle sprints, Sunday was marked by blue skies and hard tracks. Nishikawa said that everything went perfectly in her race.
“I just wanted to start relaxed and kind of build into it on the second half of the course,” she said.
After hearing a split at the halfway point that she had a one-second lead, she focused on keeping and extending that gap.
“If you know how much time you need to make up it kind of motivates me a little bit,” Nishikawa said.
The National Development Team member came off of seventh-place in Saturday’s freestyle sprint, a result she said probably should have been better — “that didn’t go as planned.”
But with her rebound in the distance classic event, she was pleased with the outcome of the three races overall. Between Thursday’s skiathlon, Saturday’s sprint and Sunday’s classic, athletes competing at the Whistler Olympic Park venue had their work cut out for them.
“I’m definitely a little tired,” said Nishikawa. “I’m looking forward to some rest.”
With an eighth and a tenth in the preceding races this weekend, Ammar’s silver medal finish on Sunday marked her best result of the season so far. After taking a year off of ski racing, the former CNST member seems to be back in good fitness.
Roy’s third-place showing on Sunday has was a step up from her fourth in the mass-start skiathlon. She was outside the top-ten in Saturday’s sprint, but Roy’s distance racing has been getting better all fall.
“Starting in front of Emily was good motivation and I stayed in front of her until practically at the line,” Roy wrote in an email. She started 30 seconds ahead of Nishikawa.
The Stella Racing team member said the Rocky Mountain Racers helped her with her skis, which made a significant difference.
“We had awesome skis all three days … both kick and glide,” Roy wrote. “It was a solid weekend as a whole!”
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Audrey Mangan (@audreymangan) is an Associate Editor at FasterSkier and lives in Colorado. She learned to love skiing at home in Western New York.