Article by: Nordiq Canada
CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I.—Quebec’s Tory Audet and British Columbia’s Garrett Siever accomplished their quest for gold at the 2023 Canada Winter Games on Tuesday.
The 17-year-old Audet and 19-year-old Siever were crowned the Queen and King of the interval start classic-ski races.
Audet was on a mission while charging up the hilly 2.5-kilometre loop at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park at Brookvale. The talented Quebecer collapsed at the finish line after completing the 7.5-kilometre women’s test in a winning time of 22:25.3.
“It was a really good start. It was a good day. The tracks are nice with really nice grooming,” said Audet. “The course starts out flat, goes up, up, up and gets very flat at the top, and then it is all down hill. This was a really good start so I’m excited for the rest of the week.”
Audet, of Chelsea, Que., put the hurt on the women’s field. Edmonton’s Alison Mackie was the next best finisher 21 seconds back at 22:46.9.
“It was a lot of fun. It was really cool to race in P.E.I. The tracks were in amazing condition and the volunteers did an amazing job snow farming,” said the 17-year-old Mackie, who has enjoyed a breakthrough season this year. “I had amazing skis with great grip, great glide so a huge thank you to the techs for that. It was a great day.”
Mackie’s Alberta teammate, Sabine Comeau, snagged the final spot on the women’s podium. The Canmore, Alta. skier clocked-in at 23:07.4.
Meanwhile, British Columbia’s Garrett Siever shattered the men’s 70-man field in the opening day of cross-country ski competition at the prestigious Canada Winter Games.
“It feels good to get this first medal. I worked pretty hard to get here in collaboration with my team, my coaches, Nordiq Canada and Team Telemark. It feels pretty good,” said Siever.
The 19-year-old was nearly flawless working his way up and down the technical rolling terrain. Siever completed the 10-kilometre interval start race in a time of 26:48.6.
“Interval starts, I just pick a pace and go. Whatever I have left, I just use it at the end,” added the West Coaster. “The course is beautiful. The track is super nice, super fast, but not icy so it is controllable out there.”
Siever controlled the start list filled with talented Nordic teens from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Alberta’s Noah Weir-Chaba was the next best finisher in the silver medal position. The Edmonton resident stopped the clock at 27:19.0.
“That first race was amazing and the course is definitely a fun one,” said Weir-Chaba, who along with Siever and Alison Mackie were on Canada’s World Junior Team this year. “The course doesn’t have a lot of long hills, but it is all up from the bottom. I think I paced it pretty well today. I stayed ahead of Garrett for most of it but the last bit he got me. It was a great race.”
Another of Canada’s World Junior Team athletes – Ry Prior of Chelsea, Que. – captured the final spot on the men’s podium with a time of 27:22.2.
Since the 2011 Canada Winter Games, Para-Nordic skiing has also been added to the two-week program in an effort to ensure there is relevant and competitive race opportunities for developing Para skiers across Canada.
British Columbia’s Logan Cox and Nova Scotia’s Emma Archibald won the men’s and women’s 2.5-kilometre Para Nordic races.
Cox posted a time of 6:48.5.
“It was pretty special to win the race. It is a super positive environment and super fun,” said Cox. “Para sport has come a long way. It is growing, the sport is becoming super inclusive and there are great opportunities for Para athletes like this now in Canada.”
Photo: Paul Klements