Led by senior team member Gareth Williams, Telemark cross-country skiers had a strong start to the new competitive season with some positive performances in December.
Williams was on the podium for every race in which he competed, with a trio of gold medals, along with a silver and a bronze medal at two NorAm events.
The B.C. races were the first in the Cross Country Canada season and featured strong competition from senior teams across the country as well as U.S. skiers who were using the races as part of their Super Tour series.
“It was a big field,” says Williams. “We had racers from National Training Centres in Quebec and Ontario and other Canadian clubs, as well as the best U.S. college teams.”
Many of the out of province skiers had been at Silver Star ski area training over the previous week.
Williams won his first gold in the sprint competition at the opening race Dec. 10 at Sovereign Lake Nordic Center outside of Vernon.
After qualifying with the fastest time in junior men, Williams dominated his two heats to the advance to the final. Each race was classic technique over a 1.2-kilometer course.
The next day was a 15-kilometer free technique (skate) race and Williams skied to a bronze finish.
Younger Telemark racers did well, with midget boy Gregor Graham earning gold in the 2.5 km classic race and another gold in the 2.5 km free technique race.
Garret Siever skied to bronze in the 2.5 km classic and Ian Mayer earned bronze 2.5 km free technique
The team travelled to Rossland over Dec. 16 to 18 and raced at Black Jack ski area.
Williams was first in the 15 km free technique, second in the 1.6 km sprint and first in the 15 km classic.
Brother Ian Williams was third in 10km free technique, third in 1 km free technique sprint and second in 10km classic for Junior boys with Ben Shipley skiing second in the 10 km free technique.
Connor Hobbs was third in his Junior boys 6.6 km classic race, while Gregor Graham finished first in 2.8 km free technique and first in 3.3 km classic for Midget boys.
The Telemark team also provides coaching, wax and race support for Hannah Mehain, who trains at Sovereign Lake.
Mehain earned a gold in 1.2 km sprints on her home course at Sovereign lake and a silver in the 10 km free technique race at Black Jack.
“We have a strong team this year,” says Telemark Junior Racers coach Adam Elliot.
“The long hours of summer training are paying off.”
Thomas Hardy from Salmon Arm and Alex MacDonald from Barriere are also skiing with Telemark this winter.