There was no shortage of talent at the second annual Lost Lake Classic cross-country ski race on Sunday (Feb. 17).
The Whistler Nordics hosted the race, which brought in 63 competitors to take on either a 7.5-kilometre or 15-km course. The overcastted afternoon left the course slushy but still quite fast for the racers, and 15-year-old Austin Reith from the local Nordics didn’t seem to mind the conditions.
With a time of 22 minutes, 10 seconds, Reith was the overall winner on the short course while also taking top spot in the boys’ 13 to 17 age group.
“It was perfect, I love it when it’s nice and warm and the snow is good,” Reith said. “It was just a fun race … it went OK.”
Anna Goodwin of North Vancouver’s Hollyburn Cross-Country Ski Club was the fastest female overall and also won the girls’ 13-17 age category for the 7.5 km in a time of 24:22.
Sizing up the rest of his season, Reith has his eyes set on the Haywood Ski Nationals at Whistler Olympic Park, taking place at the end of March
“I want to work on my technique and I want to win nationals,” Reith said.
Reith has only been cross-country skiing for two years and originally started skiing for offseason training for mountain biking. He said he took a different mindset when racing on the Lost Lake trails Sunday.
“I don’t remember liking it last year,” Reith said. “This year was tons better.
“I think people made me take it serious last year and it is supposed to be a fun race.”
In the 15-km race, which featured two loops of the 7.5-km course, 17-year-old Sam Morris of Hollyburn was fastest overall for the second year in a row, posting a time of 40:46. Vancouver’s David Lumb, the runner-up in the Spud Valley Loppet the weekend prior, took second place once again when finishing in 45:27.
Nicki Murdoch of the Whistler Nordics led all female skiers on the 15-km course, as the 18-year-old finished in 49:56 to also capture the open women’s race, followed by clubmates Jennifer Tabbernor in 56:56 and Francesca Cole in 1:05:54.
Whistler’s Michael Murdoch led last year’s boys’ 12-and-under category but this year moved up to the 13 to 17 division. Murdoch finished the 7.5 km in a time of 24:50, shaving 3 ˝ minutes off his time from last year while placing fifth overall.
“I think it’s a lot better because now I have a lot more to push for,” he said. “I think I did pretty well, on the uphills I went really fast.”
Murdoch was awarded the 2013 Teck B.C. Cup Series aggregate award for earlier this winter for achieving first place in the Midget 2000 category.
“(I raced in) three B.C. Cup series races this year, they went really well,” Murdoch said.
Still thinking forward, Murdoch hopes to make this year’s provincial talent squad. He and the many of the Whistler Nordics’ other youth racers are also gearing up for the B.C. Midget Championships, taking place in Revelstoke on March 2 and 3.
Not everyone had as smooth a race as Reith or Murdoch, but everyone was in high spirits. Marie-Claude Laski won last year’s 7.5km open women’s race with a time of 33:51, but ran into some technical difficulty during Sunday’s race.
“The boot broke off, it’s right here,” laughed Laski while holding up her busted equipment.
The Whistler resident opted for the 15-km race this year and had prepared for the increased distance, but her boot apparently had not.
“It happened on the first loop — I had done maybe just half of the first loop, just three or four km,” Laski said, who was stranded out at the Hydro Cut Trail, about as far away from the PassivHaus-area finish as possible and had to make her way back on one ski.
“It was fun though,” Laski said. “Everyone was in good spirits.
“I was cheering them on, on the way back.”
Looking to ahead to this coming weekend, Laski is preparing for Saturday’s (Feb. 23) Sigge’s P’ayakentsut and will race in the 50-km course at Whistler Olympic Park, the longest she has done yet.
“I’ve never really done this long of a distance, so I’m not expecting much out of it,” Laski said. “I just really want to finish it.”
Visit www.webscorer.com for full results of the Lost Lake Classic
Top 10 overall finishers from the Lost Lake Classic:
Sam Morris – 40:46
David Lumb – 45:27
Todd Eastman – 46:21
Tim Bell – 46:32
Greg Goodwin – 46:37
Mike Fitzmaurice – 48:12
Nicki Murdoch – 49:56
Bruce Mohr – 50:01
Rowan Morris – 50:51
Bruno Bagneres – 51:18
Austin Reith – 22:10
Kieran Lumb – 22:58
Adam Achs – 23:14
Anna Goodwin – 24:22
Michael Murdoch – 24:50
Michaela Pacakova – 25:29
Jenya Nordin – 25:32
Ruby Meihuizen – 25:32
Lauren Doak - 26:00
Fraser Doak – 27:09