A small group of Methow Valley Nordic Team (MVNT) members headed up to Canmore, Alberta, to compete in the junior classes at the Canadian National Championships, which started on March 18 and continue through Saturday (March 25).
The competition is taking place at the Canmore Nordic Center, site of the 1988 Olympics and upgraded since as a World Cup venue for both Nordic skiing and biathlon.
Team director Leslie Hall reported that Saturday morning (March 18) was warm and drizzly, with a new event on the schedule: the Relay Cross.
This entailed a team of two skiers, each skiing a 2-kilometer loop which included jumps, bumps and slalom obstacles. The organizers combined several age groups for the event. MVNT competitors raced with skiers aged 14-17.
The Methow Valley boys’ team of Travis Grialou and Walker Hall placed 31st out of 76 teams. MVNT joined forces for the week with some other regional skiers who hoped to continue competing, Hall said. Methow Valley girls’ Team 1 was Annie McColgan of Bend and MVNT’s Novie McCabe, who placed sixth in the girl’s field of 71 teams. Methow Valley girls’ Team 2 team was Hadassah Lurbur of Wenatchee and MVNT’s Gretta Scholz, who placed eighth.
A 5K interval start freestyle race took place Sunday afternoon. “Thankfully, temperatures were not climbing too rapidly so the snow stayed firm and fast,” Hall said.
MVNT skiers were unseeded early starters in the large fields with the Canadians racing later in the age groups.
“Our girls set blistering times for the Canadians to try to catch,” Hall reported. McCabe had the fastest time in her Juvenile girls group of 125, as well as the fastest time for all junior girls (aged 14-19) and third-fastest against the adult women. Gretta Scholz skied well but was feeling a bit tired, ending up 19th in the Juvenile girls’ class, Hall said.
MVNT’s Walker Hall turned in a great time in the early group, and placed third overall. Travis Grialou finished 22nd of the 109 boys in the 14-15 year age group.
On Tuesday (March 21), an interval start classic race was scheduled, with the boys racing 7.5K and the girls racing 5K on a new course. Thursday (March 23) will feature a classic sprint race, and Saturday a mass start skate event. That will wrap up the season for MVNT skiers, Hall said.