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Fernie skiers bring the heat at international competition

Louison Dubief and Wes Robinson-Shaw competed at Jackson Hole and Sun Valley.

Two local cross country skiers finished off an excellent season at the International Spring Series B-Tour in Jackson Hole, WY and Sun Valley, ID

Louison Dubief and Wes Robinson-Shaw with the Fernie Nordic Race Club completed a handful of races split between the two resorts from March 30 to April 6. It was the pair’s first competition outside of Canada and Dubief’s first international competition.

Dubief finished fifth in junior women’s U18 at the series and was ranked second out of 20 female athletes representing Canada.

Robinson-Shaw finished in the middle of the pack in men’s U18, but enjoyed the challenge nevertheless.

“It’s a really hard sport but that makes it rewarding. The highs are really high. I just love being out there racing against everyone else. It’s a good community of people,” he said.

The two athletes completed mixed relay, individual short classic and skate sprint.

Dubief said she particularly enjoyed the mixed relay — a team event with a variety of ski techniques. Each team had two men and two women, and she was paired with Raleigh Tarte, Eamon Wilson and Anika Wallin from Team B.C.

Robinson-Shaw competed in the same event, but with another team, alongside B.C athletes Carly Ram, Finn Redman and Maeve Macleod.

The snowy weather and high-altitude made for a challenging course. Dubief said she exerted more effort and got tired faster on the course, so she had to start more slowly than she normally would and take lots of breaks.

Jackson Hole reaches a peak elevation of 3,185 meters.

“Jackson Hole was really high in altitude. Learning to adapt your body for racing, the first few days were really hard. Skiing easy felt hard on the training day,” she said.

“It was pretty slow, so it was working every part of the course, even downhill. We had to push on the downs. It wasn’t super technical, not steep, but a lot of flats and pushing every part of the course,” she added.

The Spring Series marks the end of an excellent season for Dubief and Robinson-Shaw. She finished fourth in the National Championships in Gatineau, QC and they both won B.C provincials in their respective categories.

Robinson-Shaw has been ski racing since he was young, and he plans to continue when he goes to university, with a goal of making it to the World Junior Trials.

Dubief found skiing later in life and only started racing a few years ago, and became a member of the B.C Team last year.

She has her eye on making the National Junior Development Team and qualifying for World Juniors next year.

“When I started, I was just trying it out to see if it was fun and I really enjoyed it right away and I wanted to try racing. I started a bit late. I was really behind everyone else, so I really had to work hard towards getting better,” she said.

About the Author: Gillian Francis

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