If this is George Grey’s last season of elite racing, the Rossland racer is going out in style.
Grey left his pursuers in the dust as he claimed the men’s 10km skate-ski race on Sunday at the Canadian cross-country ski championships in Canmore.
Grey found another gear on the final lap to win the open event by 15 seconds over second-place finished Graeme Killick.
“It was a bit of a weird day with people going out to hard and others coming from the back late to ski with the lead group, but I was able to get a comfortable lead on the final lap,” Grey told reporters after the race. “Part of the loop was the World Cup course and I absolutely love those trails so it was a fun day.”
Grey, who was competing at the world championships in Norway, said it was a thrill to be back racing at the nationals.
“Nationals are a great opportunity to have the whole nation together including the juniors and the para-nordic athletes,” said the Black Jack Ski Club grad. “While I don’t feel I have changed, I do remember being young and looking up to the World Cup skiers. I know the next generation looks up to us athletes on the World Cup team so I really enjoy skiing this event when I can and hopefully give the next generation some motivation to dream big and chase their goals.”
Some of those young skiers included members of the Black Jack Ski Club.
In Sunday’s junior girls’ 5km race, Jill Reynolds was only eight seconds from a spot on the podium finish fifth overall.
Susanne Fraser was 22nd, Sierra Gibson 46th and Holly Heximer was 51st in a field of 59 racers.
In the junior boys’ event, Peter Locke cracked the top-10 finishing eighth overall while teammates Shawn DeGroot and Julien Locke were 16th and 17th respectively.
In the open categories, Geoffrey Richards was 18th among the men while Rebecca Reid struggled through her second lap and finished 49th among the women.
The nationals began on Saturday with two-person relay sprints.
Reynolds and Fraser teamed up to finish third in the Female 3 division race, which features each racer completing three laps on the .8km track.
Peter and Julien also combined for a third place finish in the Male 4 division.
The teams also competed in a male and female F division with the Locke brothers finishing fourth while Fraser and Reynolds were 10th.
Racing continues on Tuesday with the middle distance races.