Natalie Wilkie of Salmon Arm just missed the podium in all three events of her first international cross-country skiing races as a member of the national para-nordic prospect team.
At the Para-Nordic World Cup, held in Canmore on Dec. 9 to 17, Wilkie placed fourth in the women’s standing sprint, middle and long races.
In the sprint race on Dec. 9 Wilkie qualified for the final alongside fellow Canadians Emily Young from Vancouver and Brittany Hudak of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Wilkie finished the 1250 metre race with a time of 3:38.22. She was on the heels of Young but could not pass her teammate to get on the podium.
The following day, Wilkie was back on the course for the 7.5-kilometre middle-distance race. After three 2.5-kilometre laps Wilkie finished 31 seconds behind Young for another fourth-place result.
Wilkie raced her way to another fourth-place in the 15-kilometre long-distance race on Dec. 12. This time, Young was able to pick up a silver medal while Anna Milenina took bronze.
Wilkie’s situation is rare in that she is a member of both the able-bodied BC Nordic Team and the Canadian para-prospect team. She was selected for the BC Nordic team following her bronze-medal finish at cross-country ski nationals in March. She is eligible to compete on the para-nordic team because she lost most of the fingers on her left hand in a wood shop accident in 2016.