Larch Hills skiers excel at nationals

Fast: John Connor

Fast: John Connor

Larch Hills skiers have done it again!

The 2011 Ski Nationals were held in Canmore March 13 to 19 and attracted teams from all provinces as well as the Yukon and the Northwest Territories. The Canmore Nordic Centre, host facility of the 1988 Olympics with its mountains and world-class trails, was a beautiful setting for the racers to compete.

Larch Hills’ Phil Wallensteen and a team of coaches and wax technicians provided support for 11 local junior racers for the weeklong event.  The junior racers were joined by Larch Hill senior racers Jesse Heckrodt, Alysson Marshall, Adriene Underhill and Brian May.

The excitement started with a relay event followed by four individual races. The first individual event was a middle distance free race.  Thomas Hardy led the team results with a fourth-place finish in his five-km race. Alysson Marshall also finished in the top 10 with a fifth place finish.  Eliza-Jane Kitchen and Adriene Underhill had strong finishes of 33 and 38th place.

The second day was a change to classic event where the finishes were exciting with Thomas Hardy and Alysson Marshall both claiming third place and Kyle Flatman and Jesse Heckrodt placing sixth and ninth place respectively in their age groups.

The Larch Hill skiers showed their strong classic technique with many best performances by Jonathon Bakker, Emmy Sim, Carmen Underhill and Jake Kitchen along with brother and sister Ari and Elena Bruns.

The sprint races always bring lots of excitement to the race site.  John Connor raced his way to a second place finish, an amazing accomplishment as he was racing up an age group.

Alysson Marshall, Kyle Flatman and Thomas Hardy continued to race well, placing in the top 10 in their age groups. Adriene Underhill had her strongest performance in the sprint races, placing 17th.

The final day was a distance race where Silken Kleer and Elena Bruns, along with the Underhill sisters, Carmen and Adriene, all had great performances on a very difficult World Cup course. Jesse Heckrodt and Brian May took on the challenge of the gruelling 50-km race and placed 33rd and 38th out of 52 racers.

Marshall earned two aggregate awards – third in senior women and second in U23.