Glenn Bond pushes hard to the finish ahead of fellow Canadian Blaine Penny in the M2 30 km Free Mass Start race Saturday at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.

Glenn Bond pushes hard to the finish ahead of fellow Canadian Blaine Penny in the M2 30 km Free Mass Start race Saturday at Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.

Russians rule Masters

Team Russia showed the world they are a classic skiing powerhouse with 11 gold medals out of a possible 23 Sunday on Day 2 of skiing at the Sparkling Hill Masters World Cup at the Sovereign Lake Nordic Centre.

Canadians skiers were once again well represented with a total of 13 medals – two gold, five silver and six bronze.

Local skier, coach and athlete Sarah Purslow (F30-34) proved she knows what she is talking about when she tells kids to work on technique.

“I just kept going and kept my technique going strong,”  said Purslow, who finished with a silver in the W30-34 category.

“I ski the course every week. I held my own double poling out of the stadium then skied on my own for the rest of the course.”

Other Canadians getting their week off to a solid start were Marg Fedyna (F45-49) and Jorgan Dahlie (M85+) with gold medals.

Canadian silver medals went to Donald Farley (M40-44), Michel Labrie (M45-49), Sarah Purslow (F30-34), Wietske Eikelenboom (F45-49) and Micheline Theriault (F60-64).

Canadians taking bronze were Dave Brook (M45-49), Lyle Wilson (M60-64), Angela Ripley (F30-34), Theresa Gawron (F50-54), Louise McGonigal (F65-69) and Norman Spinks (M75-79).

Michel Labrei, second in M45-49, said: “The first guy was too strong for us. I skied with the third and the fourth. I skied alone the last 15km. It was a very nice course. With the snow it was very slow.”

The Canadians finished opening day Saturday with 14 medals – three gold, four silver and seven bronze.

B.C.’s Nikki Kassel led all female racers, 35-39 years, in the 15-kilometre freestyle event in  45:04.8. The Prince George skier jumped out to an early lead and never looked back. She was all smiles after crossing the finish line.

“It’s a beautiful gliding course. When I did the pre-ski, I thought it was going to be a lot harder course but it wasn’t. It’s a fast snow that’s cold and dry,” said Kassel, one of the 472 Canadians taking part in the seven-day event.

“I’m happy with (placing first). It’s a good way to start the week.”

Other Canadians getting their week off to a solid start were Pat Pearce (president of the Sovereign Lake Nordic Club, F55-59) and Catharine Pendrel (F30-34) with gold medals.

Canadian silver medals went to Olav Stana (Sovereign Lake, M55-59), Marta Green (Sovereign Lake, F30-34), Nancy Burden (F45-49), Olwyn Ringheim (F80-84).

Event chairman Bruce Cummings is fielding an avalanche of positive feedback from well-travelled athletes.

“It’s all come together above and beyond expectations. The volunteers have been outstanding. There’s more than 300 of them and they’ve all been working hard,” said Cummings in the Event Tent.

“Everybody I’ve talked to are impressed with the event. You hear words like ‘outstanding’, ‘superb’ and ‘glorious.’ I can’t describe how good this all feels. The weather has been absolutely perfect. The snow is fast and everybody loves the conditions.”

The athletes took Tuesday off. Racing starts at 9 a.m. today through Friday.