After two days of classic, freestyle and spring races, Fort Smith skiers have returned medal heavy from the NWT Cross Country Ski Championships and 29th Annual PTUB Ski Races in Hay River.
The team of 19 Fort Smith skiers coached by Juneva Green and Patti-Kay Hamilton brought home 16 gold, 10 silver and one bronze.
Most notable, said coach Hamilton, was 12 year-old Calista Burke’s silver medal win. Burke, who only began skiing in December, won second in a “very competitive” group of mini midget girls. It was her first ski race, but not her first competition. Burke also competed at the national level of cadets biathlon this year – her first year in the sport.
But according to Hamilton, the highlight wasn’t the medals.
“On the first day, not all the young skiers got the results they hoped for, but they didn’t get discouraged. They set some goals, and on the second day of racing improved their times substantially.”
The PTUB races ended with fun sprints that paired adults with children on a hilly loop, surrounded by a large group of cheering parents.
The event was hosted by the Hay River Ski Club and sponsored by Hay River’s Ptarmigan Inn and The Hub newspaper. Races were open for skiers aged six to 70 in a variety of events.