Whitehorse's Knute Johnsgaard burst onto the cross-country skiing scene in 2017 after being a last-minute addition to the national men's relay team that captured Canada's first ever medal in the event.
The 2017 season was a year of firsts for Johnsgaard. The 24-year-old qualified for his first world championships, landed his first world cup podium and secured a spot to the Winter Olympic Games all in the same week.
Johnsgaard sees Whitehorse as more than just his birthplace — it's where the rookie developed into an elite ski racer and explored what he says is "one of the world's last true wilderness areas."
The first-time Olympian credits his explorations and Yukon's warm and supportive people for helping him achieve his spot on the national cross-country ski team.
The wilderness shaped Johnsgaard into an elite athlete — but it was his hometown that shaped him into the person he is today.
Get to know Whitehorse
- Notable Olympians include: Zachary Bell (cycling) and Jeane Lassen (weightlifting)
- It has roughly the same population today as it did in 1900 (33,897 in 2015, 31,055 in 1900)
- The city has 85 kilometres of groomed cross-country trails and 20 km of back-country trails
- It started as a transportation hub during the Klondike gold rush in 1898
- Known as "the wilderness city"