Winter brings big wins for NWT high performance athletes

Winter brings big wins for NWT high performance athletes
High performance snowboarder Andrew Matthews is one of several NWT professional athletes that brought home big wins during the winter season.Photo: andrewmatthews.ca.

Results are flooding in for the territory’s high performance winter athletes who wrapped up their seasons with national and international competitions where they gave it their all and brought home big wins for the NWT.

Professional snowboarders Andrew Matthews and Molly Milligan, both originally from Yellowknife, shredded up a storm at competitions this year, both ending the season on a high note at the national Dew Tour Am Series – a new event on the World Snowboard Tour held at Sun Peaks Resort in BC in late March.

Still riding a high from a first place finish at the Canadian nationals in Calgary the week before, Milligan outperformed all other female snowboarders to finish in first place at the Dew Tour Am Series competition.

Matthews also competed in the Dew Tour and gave a solid performance in the men’s category, finishing flawless runs, but avoiding the more difficult tricks. He landed in fifth place overall ahead of multiple athletes on the national development team.

Despite not making it to the Olympics, both snowboarders said they were pleased with their performances over the season and are now focused on enjoying the last of the spring snowboarding conditions.

“I’m feeling strong, healthy and more confident than ever!” Milligan said in a press release following her Dew Tour win.

“Ah, the never ending quest of pursuing excellence…you’ve got to love it!” Matthews said of his own results.

Young cross-country skier in top 10

Fort McPherson cross-country skier Annah Hanthorn ended her ski season with a bang after her performance at a national competition in eastern Canada landed her a top 10 finish in every event.

Hanthorn attended the Haywood Ski Nationals held in Corner Brook, Nfld. in mid-March where she skied against some of the best cross-country athletes in the country, including two Olympic skiers who represented Canada during the games in Sochi, Russia this past February.

Success was sweet for the young NWT skier, who was not long ago recovering from a torn ligament in her ankle that prevented her from competing at the Canadian Eastern Championships in February.

Hanthorn more than redeemed herself for lost time at nationals by receiving three bronze medals and a second place overall aggregate award for her age.

“I had a huge amount of support racing this week,” she said in a press release following her big win. “My goal coming here to nationals was to race hard and do my very best, whatever place I come, and I feel like I was able to do that thanks to my coaches and teammates.”

Upon returning to the NWT to wind down the ski season, the cross-country skier received news of a full sponsorship offer from the ski-brand company Fisher for next year’s season.

NWT Olympians back home

NWT Olympians Brendan Green and Michael Gilday kept the territory on its toes throughout the Olympics in February and despite not bringing home any medals, were treated nothing less than royally upon returning to the NWT for a short break in their training.

Green and his girlfriend, fellow Olympic biathlete Rosanna Crawford, were back in Hay River for the annual Ptub ski races in late March and hundreds came out to ski the trails with their hometown hero.

Gilday was back in Yellowknife in early April following a disappointing showing for the Canadian speed skating team at the world short track speed skating championships held in Montreal that saw the relay team finish last in their heat.

Gilday spent some quality time in the city before heading up north to hang out with the speed skating club in Inuvik.

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