CORNER BROOK, Newfoundland — The 2014 Canadian Ski Nationals started Saturday, March 15, with the classic team sprints. This year the five races, held over the course of a week, are at Blow Me Down Trails in Newfoundland.
Sunday’s races were the 5- and 10-kilometer classic interval starts. Talking to the skiers afterwards, the big thing that defined this day of competition was adversity, particularly evident in the snow conditions. The race was really hard to wax for — with some skiers opting for klister, some hardwax and others going with zeros.
But even with this much variation in what people were going with for grip, it seems that nobody really found the perfect set up. Pretty quickly, herringbone washed out the tracks and it turned into a competition of who could double pole the most.
With steep hills, sketchy weather and limited grip, this was one of those races where the winner is the one who stays positive and adapts to the conditions rather than fight them.
Here are Sunday’s champions:
Senior Men: Jess Cockney
In the North-American skiing world, Jess Cockney, winner of the men’s 10 k classic, doesn’t really need an introduction. For those living under a rock (or a lot of snow), he trains out of Canmore with the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) and National Senior Development Team (NST) and just returned from his first Olympics at the Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.
- Something about Jess that doesn’t have to do with skiing: “I run a fantasy football league through the NFL season. 2012 League Champion!”
- Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? “I double poled most of today’s race so all the strength work and long double pole sessions really helped with today.”
- Was there any aspect — positive, negative or otherwise — that stood out about today’s race? “I had a ton of fun yesterday and today and had great feelings in the races so I’ll just try to keep the fun going for the rest of the week!”
1. Jesse Cockney (AWCA/NST) 27:38.1
2. Kevin Sandau (AWCA/NST) +1.1
3. Knute Johnsgaard (Yukon Elite) +10.0
4. Colin Abbott (Yukon Elite) +25.5
5. Frédéric Touchette (Laval) +35.7
6. Michael Somppi (AWCA/NST) +40.1
7. Raphaël Couturier (CNEPH/NST) +42.7
8. Russell Kennedy (AWCA) +43.7
9. Graeme Killick (AWCA/NST) +49.0
10. Bob Thompson (NDC Thunder Bay) +1:15.4
Senior Women: Emily Nishikawa
Like Cockney, Nishikawa doesn’t need much of an introduction. She also won her first title of the week in the team sprint and trains with the AWCA and NST and is just back from representing the red maple leaf at her first Olympics.
- Something about Emily that doesn’t have to do with skiing: “I used to be a competitive gymnast. My best result was winning the Jurassic Classic when I was 11!”
- Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? “I’ve been working really hard all year, and other than that one cold I’ve been healthy all year. I think that contributed to today’s performance.”
- Was there any aspect — positive, negative or otherwise — that stood out about today’s race? “Today’s race was really fun, with tricky conditions. I was happy to make the skis work as best I could. This is my first time in Newfoundland and I am so excited to be here!”
1. Emily Nishikawa (AWCA/NST) 14:54.5
2. Dasha Gaiazova (World Cup Team) +1.6
3. Amanda Ammar (Team Ninja)+27.3
4. Perianne Jones (World Cup Team) +38.2
5. Kendra Murray (Carleton) +1:03.9
6. Heidi Widmer (AWCA/NST) +1:06.7
7. Alysson Marshall (AWCA/NST) +1:10.1
8. Erin Tribe (NDC Thunder Bay) +1:16.2
9. Alannah Maclean (NDC Thunder Bay) +1:21.9
10. Chisa Obayashi (Madshus Japan) +1:26.9
Junior Men: Scott Hill
An Ontario native and member of NDC Thunder Bay and National Junior Team, Hill took gold in the junior men’s 10 k race.
- Something about Scott that doesn’t really have to do with skiing: “My younger self’s goal was to play in the NBA–and be a part time ski-racer.”
- Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? “I became an overall-better runner this year completing many running workouts.”
- Was there any aspect — positive, negative or otherwise — that stood out about today’s race? “Going into the race I was prepared to not have the best wax. I knew that wax was going to be an issue for everyone and that I could still do well as long as I didn’t let the conditions get to me.”
1. Scott Hill (NDC Thunder Bay/NST) 28:48.9
2. Colin Foley (CVTC) +27.6
3. Alexis Dumas (QC ST) +34.7
4. Evan Palmer-Charrette (NDC Thunder Bay/NST) +46.3
5. Julien Lamoureux (Cégep Édouard-Montpetit) +46.8
6. Nicholas Pigeon (Skinouk) +1:15.4
7. Benjamin Wilkinson-Zan (NDC Thunder Bay/NST) +1:20.6
8. Conor Thompson (Cégep Édouard-Montpetit) +1:29.1
9. Frédéric Samson (Skibec) +1:54.9
10. Gavin Shields (OST) +1:58
Junior Women: Dahria Beatty
Two days after teaming up with Nishikawa to win the classic team sprint, Beatty, of the AWCA and Junior National Team member, took top spot on the podium in the junior women’s 5 k race.
Originally from the Yukon, she spends her offseason in Canmore training with the AWCA. This year she’s seen some solid results in the European race scene, both at Junior World Championships and on the Scandinavian Cup B-Tour.
- Something about Dahria that doesn’t have to do with skiing: “I have a tendency to impulse buy plaid shirts.”
- Was there anything in particular training-wise that you did this past summer that really contributed to your performance today? “To be honest I really think it was all the time I spent walking Loki, the Davies’ family dog, (with whom I live). It really adds up and my competitors just can’t match it. “
- Was there any aspect — positive, negative or otherwise — that stood out about today’s race? “The conditions today were pretty interesting and very similar to the ones I had in Europe racing at World Juniors and on the B Tour. This made it very advantageous to me, using what I learned over there I knew what was necessary in order to have the race I wanted. It was also super cool to be so close to World Cup skiers and it is very motivating for the future.”
1. Dahria Beatty (AWCA/NST) 15:35.3
2. Katherine Stewart-Jones (QC ST/NST) +22.9
3. Annah Hanthorn (YTST) +54.4
4. Sophie Carrier-Laforte (Skinouk) +56.9
5. Maya Macisaac-Jones (CNEPH/NST) +1:02.8
6. Jennifer Jackson (NDC Thunder Bay/NST) +1:17.6
7. Frédérique Vézina (CNEPH/NST) +1:22.6
8. Anne-Marie Comeau (CNEPH/NST) +1:26.7
9. Emilie Stewart-Jones (Nordique) +1:27.4
10. Alexandra Slobodian (Carleton) +1:46.3
About the Author: A Canadian cross-country ski racer with the Alberta World Cup Academy, Zeke spends most of his time in Canmore, Alberta, but calls Cantley, Quebec, his home. He thinks that you can learn a lot about a person from their goals — his is to ski really fast on the Winter Olympic race course in 2018. Unfortunately he is not competing at 2014 Canadian Nationals on account of an injury. Check out his blog: zekewilliams1.blogspot.ca.
Alex Kochon (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the former managing editor at FasterSkier. She spent seven years with FS from 2011-2018, and has been writing, editing, and skiing ever since. She's making a cameo in 2020.