Ella Fuller (left) and Mae Elson (right) are all smiles after the first day of racing in Canmore. (Photo courtesy of Mark Elson)

Ella Fuller (left) and Mae Elson (right) are all smiles after the first day of racing in Canmore. (Photo courtesy of Mark Elson)

Fernie Nordic racers make the podium in Alberta Cup

Seven athletes from Fernie travelled to Canmore to attend the first round of Alberta Cup

Contributed by Helen McAllister

Fernie Nordic Racers – Team Coordinator

Seven athletes from the Fernie Nordic Racers travelled to Canmore, Alberta to attend the first round of Alberta Cup races held Saturday (Dec. 10) and Sunday (Dec. 11).

Under the stunning backdrop of the Rocky Mountain range, Mae Elson (10), Graham Etue (12), Tate Elson (12), Ella Fuller (13), Cameron Etue (14), Louison Dubief (16) and Wes Robinson-Shaw (16), raced in Classic technique on Saturday.

Morning races saw the older athletes (14+) compete in a 1 km sprint elimination series.

All Fernie athletes fought hard in their heats, and Dubief and Robinson-Shaw both made the finals of their respective U18 divisions.

Afternoon races were set up as mass starts which required all competitors to vie for their spot while maintaining technique, weaving through poles and skis all at a frantic pace. With only 2.5 kilometres before the finish line, there was no rest-time and the fast pace had to be sustained throughout the course.

Athletes had to find the best line and fastest tracks, charge up the hills and tuck the downhills for a successful race.

Two athletes found themselves on the podiums of their respective age-group divisions. The racers were well supported by their coaching team of Johnny Shaw and Kate Woods, while Dave Fuller helped ensure the skis were tuned with speedy wax.

Sundays races were Freestyle technique and all athletes had interval starts, with 15 second gaps between competitors.

While not a true cat and mouse pursuit race, the skiers had the constant feeling of chasing down the athlete in front of them while being hunted down by those coming from behind as they pushed their limits to reach the finish line.

Fernie athletes aged 13 and under completed a roller-coaster course over a 3 km distance, while the 14+ year olds had a 2.5 km course that they had to race around three times before finishing their 7.5 km distance.

Again, several Fernie athletes achieved podium success competing against the best in Alberta as well as some fellow competitors from British Columbia and Saskatchewan.

With ex-Olympians in attendance to cheer them on, the Canmore Nordic Centre made for a wonderful early-season race weekend to attend.

The next round of racing will see a few athletes travel all the way to Whistler early in the New Year.

The Nordic skiers will be competing in the first round of the BC Cup race series which will be held at the Whistler Olympic Centre in the beautiful Callaghan Valley. The level of competition will be high and the Fernie Nordic Racers will be in tough against the best in the province.

With three weeks to train, our athletes will be primed and ready to represent the Fernie Nordic Race team.

READ MORE: ‘Some outstanding results’ for young Fernie Nordic racers competing in Vernon

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