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Black Jack skier qualifies for Youth Olympic Games

Jasmine Drolet races to first in the U20 Classic in Canmore, Alta. at the Haywood NorAm YOG trials
Black Jack skier Jasmine Drolet raced to gold in the 5-km Classic on Saturday at the Haywood NorAm Youth Olympic Games trials in Canmore. Graeme Williams photo.

The Black Jack cross-country ski team is off to another strong start.

Rossland skier Jasmine Drolet qualified for the 2020 Youth Olympic Games at the Haywood NorAM YOG Trials in Canmore on the weekend.

The 17-yea-old Drolet was the fastest U20 racer in the 5-km Classic winning gold, and racing to bronze in the U18 Girls 7.5 km Interval start free ski. She also came sixth in the sprint.

“She’s been the best Junior in U20, so competing against kids three years older even,” said Black Jack ski coach David Wood. “In the sprint, she was third in qualifications and she was sixth overall, so that was the best sprint result for her ever. She has picked her skating up a lot, and her classic is as strong as ever.”

Black Jack’s Abbey McLean placed second in U16 5-km Classic and 13th in 4-km interval start.

U16 skier Adam Heale also had a strong weekend coming sixth in 4-km interval free start, and eighth in the 5-k Classic.

Good results considering snow conditions have been wanting for the Black Jack ski club, and training has been a challenge to start the season.

“We haven’t had a lot of good skiing conditions to work on technique, but it’s starting to come around now,” said Wood. “The upper trails, what they call biathlon, is 1,500 meters almost, so it’s fine now, but the lower club is rock skiing.”

The YOG Trials in Canmore is part of the Haywood NorAm/ US Super Tour, with the next stop in Sun Valley, Idaho this weekend. Jasmine will compete in Sun Valley, the US Super Tour portion, in preparation for the US Nationals Jan. 2-8 and the Haywood Western Cup in Whistler Jan. 17-19.

Jasmine’s brother Remi Drolet is attending Harvard University and will race on the NCAA Div. 1 circuit. He’ll also start his third season on the National Jr. Ski Team.

“We’ll look for a strong showing at the National championships,” said Wood. “We’ll see how Remi does, but I’m quite confident he’ll make the World Jr. Championships team, and I’m optimistic he’ll improve on last year.”

The Youth Olympic Games will be held in Lausanne, Switzerland from Jan. 9-22. The team has yet to be announced by Cross Country Ski Canada, but Wood is confident Jasmine will be on it.

The Haywood NorAm Race Series is the premier Canadian domestic racing series and makes up the balance of Canada’s FIS Continental Cup Series used to determine Continental Cup World Cup entrants. In 2017, an interlocking schedule with select USSA Super Tour events was introduced to enhance the competitive level at NorAm events.

Black Jack will host the Kootenay Cup and BC Winter Games Trials Dec. 28-29.

Jim Bailey

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