Yukon Hall of Fame: Cross Country Skiing

    18 février 2004

    HALL OF FAME Lucy Steele-Masson, October 2000.

    Lucy Steele-Masson was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her contribution as an athlete in the sport of Cross Country Skiing.

    Lucy was born in Bristol, England and moved to the Yukon at the tender age of 6 in what her parents called a "one year stint". Lucy did not begin skiing until the age 12 where she represented the Yukon at the 1982 Arctic Winter Games. Lucy excelled very quickly in her sport where she competed at the High Performance Level for 15 years. By 1994 Lucy had received the Yukon Female Athlete of the Year Award - 7 times, and the Government of Yukon Award of Excellence - 10 times. At the Nationals Championships from 1984 - 1996, Lucy brought home 11 medals. She also captured a Silver Medal in 1987, and 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal at the 1991 Canada Winter Games. Lucy did not rest there, as she then competed for Canada at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, and forever Lucy was known as an Olympian.

    For many years, Lucy has been a role model for Yukon youth, as they aspire to accomplish great heights. Lucy's athletic and life journey has been about hard work and determination, about setting goals, chasing dreams and being passionate about her sport. In short, Lucy's life has been about "a pursuit of excellence".

    HALL OF FAME
    Jane Vincent, 1997.

    Jane Vincent was inducted into the Hall of Fame for her contribution as an athlete in the sport of cross-country skiing.

    Jane was born in Montreal, Quebec in 1966 and donned her first pair of cross-country skis at the age of 3. In high school her love of the sport became obvious as she began entering a number of major competitions. She placed 4th at the 1986 World Junior Championships. Her dream of being in the Olympics was realized at 26 when she represented Canada at the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville, France.

    Her quest motivated her through endless hours of training and by 1985 she had become a member of Canada's National Ski Team and continued this standard of excellence until 1992. She moved to the Yukon in 1989 and made her home in Dawson City in typical Yukon fashion. Her training had to be very innovative in Dawson City. However, her lack of training facilities was overwhelmed by tremendous community support.

    Jane has finished racing nationally and internationally but still participates in local races. Her love for the sport is still strong and she continues to promote cross-country skiing in various Yukon communities.

     

    HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
    Selwyn Hughes, 1995.

    Selwyn Hughes was inducted to the Hall of Fame for his outstanding contribution to the T.E.S.T. program (Territorial Experimental Ski Training).

    Selwyn became a main contributor to this program when he arrived in the Yukon in 1969. Over the years he touched the lives of hundreds of youth aged 12 to 16 that were a part of the T.E.S.T.. He was dedicated to the youth of the program, working through Christmas holidays, spring breaks and summer holidays. He introduced them to a variety of activities including cross-country skiing, running, canoe trips and hiking trips. Selwyn also chaperoned and coached the annual four week T.E.S.T. trip to France and in the summer of 1995 he took a group of T.E.S.T. youth to Wales for a three week hiking trip.

    Through his dedication he has taught youth what commitment and responsibility really means. He was instrumental in developing the goals of the T.E.S.T. program and establishing the reputation the now enjoys in many parts of Canada.


    HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
    Monique Waterreus, 1991.

    Monique Waterreus was inducted to the Hall of Fame for her contributions as an athlete in the sport of cross-country skiing.

    Monique was born in Whitehorse in 1961 and began skiing at the age of nine in the T.E.S.T. program. She soon made a place for herself on the Yukon ski team and by 1976 she began national and international competition. Monique clearly proved her athletic abilities by winning ten Canadian championship medals including six golds at the Canadian Juniors. She represented Canada at the World Junior Championships in 1979 and 1980, placing 15th, the third best Canadian result ever at the time. She also won the 1981 year-long Nor-Am race series, the Sapporo, Japan International Ski Marathon and participated in many World Cup races in Italy, former East and West Germany, France and Canada.

    Monique's efforts were recognized by being named Yukon Female Athlete of the Year in 1977, 1978, 1980 and 1982 and receiving the Commissioners Award in 1982.

    HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
    Martha Benjamin, 1989.

    Martha Benjamin was inducted to the Hall of Fame for her accomplishments as a cross-country skiing athlete.

    Martha Benjamin, a lifetime resident of Old Crow, skied at the national level during the late 1950s and early 1960s and competeed in Canada, the U.S.A. and Europe. In 1963 at the age of 25 and a mother of five, Martha was named the senior Canadian women's cross-country ski champion. She won the title at a competition in Midland, Ontario for a 10k race with a time of 43.29 minutes.

    In 1963, the Whitehorse Star quoted her coach, Father Mouchet as saying:

      "Old Crow has the potential. Martha is steel, straight steel. She could go on forever. Old Crow skiers have the ability to find a source of energy that we don't know exists. Old Crow is the most isolated town in Canada. They have never had experience in real competitive racing. This is something that they have to overcome."

    After her victory as Canadian Ski Champion, Martha went on to train for the Olympic team but family obligations kept her from competing at this level.



    HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
    Ed Schiffkorn, 1988.

    Ed Schiffkorn was inducted to the Hall of Fame for his contribution as an athlete, coach and builder of alpine skiing and for his contributions to cross-country skiing as a volunteer and builder.

    Ed was born in Austria in 1938 and spent his youth alpine racing in Europe before he moved to the Yukon in 1959. From 1959 to 1970 Ed raced with the Yukon Ski Team, attended the International Airline races in Alaska five years in a row, and skied at several Canada Games. Ed also coached the Whitehorse Alpine Ski Club from 1959 to 1975 and coached Yukon teams to three Canada Games. From 1966 to 1972 he was the Alpine Chair of the Yukon Ski Zone. He also volunteered to build the Heckel Hill ski facility.

    Ed also became involved in cross-country skiing in 1971. He began as a weekend timer and by 1974 he was assisting with the organization of the Canadian Junior Championships in Whitehorse. In following years he volunteered as Finish Referee (1975 Canada Winter Games), Assistant Technical Delegate (1977 Canadian Senior Championships), Chief of Race (1980 Canadian Junior Nationals), Chief of Race (1981 World Cup and North American Championships), Technical Delegate (1982 Nor-Am Race), Chief of Race (1986 Canadian Junior Nationals) and Chief of Race for several other local races. From 1977 to 1981, Ed served as the Cross-Country Chair for the Yukon Ski Zone and was responsible for the technical aspect of the sport. Ed also took two months off from work to devote himself full time to the 1981 World Cup.


    HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
    Don Sumanik, 1983.

    Don Sumanik was inducted to the Hall of Fame for his major contribution to cross-country skiing in Whitehorse.

    A resident of Yukon since 1966, Don was a major factor in the expansion of cross-country skiing in the territory. For many years he worked at cutting trails, setting ski tracks, serving as president of the Whitehorse Cross-Country Ski Club and promoting major ski events. Don was primarily responsible for bringing the 1974 Canadian National Junior Cross Country Championships, the 1976 Canadian National Senior Championships and the 1980 Canadian National Junior Cross Country Championships to Whitehorse. He also served as the Race Chair for the 1974 and 1976 events and in 1975 he was Chair of the Canadian Ski Association. Don's greatest contribution was bringing the 1981 World Cup Ski Race to Whitehorse and getting the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Chalet built in time for the event. The Edmonton Journal wrote on November 27, 1980:

      "Don Sumanik's efforts on behalf of cross country skiing would have surprised even the most skeptical of people who felt the World Cup finals would be only a dream the Yukon could never realize."

    Even when he was quite ill waiting for his second heart surgery of the year, Don actively participated during the week of the race and was appointed World Cup Chair. Don Sumanik passed away on December 1, 1982.

     

    HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE
    Father Mouchet, 1980.

    Father Mouchet, founder of the T.E.S.T program (Territorial Experimental Ski Training), was inducted to the Hall of Fame for his contribution to cross country skiing.

    An Oblate priest from eastern France, Father Mouchet came to Canada in 1946 on a mission. He was first posted to Telegraph Creek, B.C. and then in 1955 he transferred to Old Crow where he stayed until 1982. Before coming to Canada, Father Mouchet developed a love for cross country skiing while serving on the French Ski Corps during World War II and wanted to share this love with the community of Old Crow. He began by organizing an informal ski program for youth and by 1967, with the support of the Yukon Territorial Government and the education system, he founded T.E.S.T.. He later travelled to Whitehorse and Inuvik to set up the same program in those communities. The benefits of the T.E.S.T. program enabled some youth to become competitive skiers. Two skiers from Old Crow and two from Inuvik, N.W.T. qualified for the Canadian National Cross Country Ski Team. The two from Inuvik qualified to compete in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics in Sapporo, Japan and Innsbruck, Austria.

    The history of cross country skiing in the Yukon owes much to the vision, strength, character and wisdom of Father Mouchet