Larisa Yurkiw found her winning ways in Whistler again Sunday (March 24), capturing the third national title of her career.
Yurkiw tamed the downhill course at the Dave Murray National Training Centre to become the discipline’s Canadian women’s champion for the first time since 2008.
“It’s nice to get that back,” said Yurkiw, 24. “I raced well today and risked in some places but it worked to my advantage. I feel good.
“This year was a bit of a grind and I was definitely hungry coming into nationals. Some years, it’s a place to work on your technique, but for me this year, I want results and I’m really happy with today.”
Runner-up Gagnon was 0.38 seconds behind Yurkiw, while Julia Roth (+1.09) took the bronze. Sarah Freeman and Valerie Grenier tied for fourth place overall.
Whistler was the host of the national championships when Yurkiw won the women’s downhill and super-G titles five years ago, and that was also the last time the speed specialist competed here. While most of the senior women’s racers in the field Sunday were here two winters ago for the Nor-Am Cup finals, Yurkiw was then recovering from a 2009 leg injury that forced her to miss two full seasons.
“It’s a little nostalgic,” she said. “I’m trying to stay focused but it’s been a lot of fun.”
Local skiers were also in the mix Sunday, as B.C. Ski Team members Emma King and Charley Field both finished in the top 10 overall. Whistler’s King (1:06.60) placed seventh and Pemberton’s Field (1:07.05) wound up 10th.
“I’m pretty pleased. I’ve been working for the last four days to master this and today was definitely my best run,” said King, who was simply excited to have a chance to race in the national championships and compete against World Cup-level skiers.
“My first year I didn’t go to nationals, and then last year there was no snow in Quebec,” said King, as nearly all Canadian Championship races were wiped out last year. “This year, I get to ski against all of these girls.”
And to ski against them at home was another bonus for the 17-year-old.
“It’s awesome,” said King. “My parents are both volunteering, my friends’ parents are volunteering and everybody’s totally put in so much for this race to happen. It’s great to see everyone supporting the Whistler Mountain Ski Club so much.”
Whistler’s Kelly Steeves finished 16th on Sunday and fellow local clubmate Elizabeth Kepl placed 19th.
The Canadian Alpine Championships continue Monday (March 25) with the men’s and women’s super-G.