The Haywood NorAm races at Black Jack
Over two hundred athletes traveled to Rossland from across Canada, with representatives from Brazil, and Portugal, and several from the United States. Team coaches came along, and some family members accompanied young athletes. Despite early worries about snow depth, there was enough, and skiers reported good conditions. There were some cold noses on Saturday the 17th, when the temperature dipped rather low, especially for the many volunteers who couldn’t keep toasty by engaging in vigorous physical activity.
Local Black Jack athletes enjoyed some podium time. On Friday, Black Jack’s Jasmine Drolet tied for fourth place in Juvenile Girls with Kolibri Drobish of Revelstoke, in the Stage 1 Interval Start Free 5 km, with a time of 18 minutes and 9.2 seconds — just one minute, 53.6 seconds after the first-place winner, Novie McCabe of Methow Valley Nordic (Washington, US.)
For other respectable results, Black Jack’s Sophie Edney came in seventh place in the Juvenile Girls 5 km race. In the Junior Girls 5 km, Michaela McLean of Black Jack came in sixth.
On Saturday, the day of the cold extremities, Nelson’s Julien Locke who has skied for Black Jack and is now on Canada’s National Ski Team, placed second in the Men’s Open 1.4 sprints finals, with a time of 2:45:86. Remi Drolet came fourth in the Junior Men’s sprint finals, with a time of 3:00:92. Jasmine Drolet came in fifth in the Juvenile Girl’s 2.8 km Interval Start Free race with a time of 9:01.8, just a fraction of a second behind Drobish.
On Sunday, the Drolet siblings showed their mettle again: Jasmine Drolet placed second in the Junior Girls category in the 6.6 km mass start Classic, after Novie McCabe, and Remi Drolet came third in the Junior Men’s 15 km Handicapped Start Classic. Both Jasmine and Remi were racing against competitors two years or more older than they were, which is an additional challenge for younger athletes.
Events such as the Haywood NorAm bring economic and other, less tangible benefits to our area as a whole, and depend on community spirit expressed as time and effort, contributed by a whole phalanx of volunteers, to make them happen. Last weekend, about 80 volunteers pitched in to make these Haywood NorAm races a success; our thanks go out to all of them. Since the weekend, a little more snow has fallen to help replenish the cross-country tracks, and we’re grateful for that too.
A Youth Exchange Program:
Twenty-seven of the racers came from the Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club near Ottawa, with members from both Ontario and Quebec. This winter, as part of a student exchange arranged through Experiences Canada, seven skiers in Nelson and thirteen of Rossland’s Black Jack skiers hosted a total of thirty-one people — the young skiers from the Nakkertok Nordic Ski Club, most of them thirteen years old, and their chaperones.
In February, a group of young people from this area will travel to Ottawa and enjoy sampling a different Canadian culture and geography.
The Nakkertok skiers visiting here visited local museums and galleries, and had local elders Al Fisher and Ritchie Mann talk with them; they have visited Ainsworth Hot Springs, and generally gained a lot of learning from the week they were here.