Three Black Jack skiers put up impressive performances at the 2018 Ski Nationals in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Molly Miller, Jasmine Drolet and Remi Drolet from Rossland all had solid performances over the course of the 10-day cross-country ski event that ran from March 8 to 17.
Miller and Jasmine finished third together in the Girls Team Sprint Final on Saturday, March 10.
It was Jasmine’s first time participating in a team event.
“It was really fun,” she said. “If you qualify, which is the first time you do it, then you can move on and do it again. It’s a good experience.”
Miller has done team sprint before, but this is her first year on Black Jack. Previously she skied with the Kimberley team.
“So it was really nice to do the team sprint for Black Jack for the first time,” she said. “We had a really strong team, so I was happy with our results that day.”
Miller also finished first in the Junior Girls Classic Mass Start, winning her seventh national title.
“It was a good day and that’s usually one of my best races is the long distance classic,” she said.
She finished third in the Junior Girls 5km Classic Interval Start and fourth in the Junior Girls 2 x 5km Free Pursuit, placing fifth for the Overall Pursuit.
A racer’s starting position in the Free Pursuit was determined by their performance in the Classical Interval Start, as Remi explained.
“So say the person in second was 10 seconds behind the winner in the last race, he starts 10 seconds behind in the second race,” he said. “So that’s called a pursuit.”
A racer’s place in the overall pursuit is then determined by combining their times from the first and second race.
Miller also placed third overall in the Junior Girls Short Sprint and won the first place award for the 2001 Year of Birth Aggregate.
She wanted to thank Black Jack coach Dave Wood.
“We’re so fortunate to have him and he’s been such a great coach for me this year,” Miller said. “But also a big thank you to all our wax techs on Black Jack — Edouard and Mark and Bob. They worked hard and gave us good skis.”
Miller also thanked her parents for always supporting her.
Jasmine Drolet had two first-place finishes over the weekend. The first was in the Juvenile Girl 5km Classic Interval Start and the second was in the Juvenile Girls Classic Mass Start.
Jasmine is typically stronger in classic than she is in the skate.
“Classic is when you have… you’re kind of lunging forward and you have grip wax on your skis and then skate skiing is when you glide, but kind of like side to side and you push off the side of your ski instead of the side of your foot,” she explained.
But Jasmine’s not sure why she finds classic easier.
She also finished seventh in the Juvenile Girls 5km Free Pursuit, placing fifth in the Overall Pursuit and placed 16th overall for the Juvenile Girls Short Sprint.
Her brother Remi, who was recovering from a cold, didn’t race as well as he’d hoped but placed seventh in the Junior Men’s Classic Mass Start.
“I didn’t have the greatest weekend because I got sick right beforehand and when that happens I seem to not be able to perform super well,” said Remi. “But I came in sick and then throughout the week my results gradually improved.”
“I did race up a category, but it was still a little bit disappointing,” he added.
But Remi’s week proved that it’s important not to give up when things go wrong.
“Never give up and just keep on fighting until the end, because you can still have good results even though your results at the beginning of the week are really, really bad,” he said.
Remi also placed 13th in the Junior Men’s 2 x 5km Classic Interval Start and then 31st in the Senior and Junior Men’s 3 x 5km Free Pursuit, placing 29th in the Overall Pursuit, and placed 28th overall for the Junior Men’s Long Sprint.
Remi said skiing conditions for the championships were really good.
“They had lots of snow and the temperature was pretty good. It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t melting all the time,” he said.
Jasmine Drolet (centre) won first place in the Juvenile Girls 5km Classic Interval Start at the 2018 Ski Nationals. (Edouard Drolet)
Molly Miller received the first place award for the 2001 Year of Birth Aggregate at the 2018 Ski Nationals. (Courtesy of Molly Miller)
Jasmine Drolet raced to a third place finish in the Girls Team Sprint Final along with teammate Molly Miller.(Edouard Drolet)
Molly Miller raced to a third place finish in the Girls Team Sprint Final along with teammate Jasmine Drolet. (Edouard Drolet)