Onetime Pembertonian Marlie Molinaro has raced to fifth in the 7.5-kilometre classic interval start at the 2023 Canada Winter Games. On Feb. 28, she crossed the line in a time of 23 minutes and 38.10 seconds, just behind fellow Team BC contender Alexandra Luxmoore of Revelstoke (23:36.90).
Tory Audet of Chelsea, Que. emerged on top (22:25.30), well ahead of Albertan runner-up Alison Mackie from Edmonton (22:46.90). The podium was rounded out by Sabine Comeau of Canmore, Alta. (23:07.40).
Molinaro, 19, was born in Squamish but spent much of her youth in Pemberton and Whistler training with the Spud Valley Nordics and Whistler Nordics. She finished 39th in the the junior women’s 10-kilometre individual start at this year's FIS Nordic Junior World Ski Championships in Whistler.
Now she lives in Canmore and represents the Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) alongside talented peers like Ry Prior and Xavier McKeever.
In fact, Prior hustled to third in the men's 10-kilometre interval start (27:22.20). He joined his fellow Chelsea native, Audet, in contributing to Team Quebec's medal haul. Garrett Siever of Kelowna, B.C. (26:48.60) and Edmontonian Noah Weir Chaba (27:19.00) took gold and silver respectively.
How it happened
Audet was on a mission, charging up the hilly 2.5-kilometre loop at the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park on Tuesday in Brookvale, P.E.I. The talented Francophone collapsed at the finish line, but did so having asserted her dominance over the women's field.
“It was a really good start. It was a good day. The tracks are nice with really nice grooming,” said the 17-year-old Audet in a press release. “The course starts out flat, goes up, up, up and gets very flat at the top, and then it is all downhill. This was a really good start so I’m excited for the rest of the week.”
“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,” added Mackie, who is also 17 and has enjoyed a breakthrough season with two top-15 finishes at the World Juniors. “I had amazing skis with great grip, great glide so a huge thank you to the techs for that. It was a great day.”
Among men, the 19-year-old Siever was nearly flawless working his way up and down the technical rolling terrain. “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,” he said.
“Interval starts, I just pick a pace and go. Whatever I have left, I just use it at the end,” Siever explained about his race tactics. “The course is beautiful. The track is super nice, super fast, but not icy, so it is controllable out there.”
The 2023 Canada Winter Games will continue until March 5, bringing together 3600 athletes, managers and coaches across 20 different sports for the largest multi-sport event in the country.