Calgary, Alta. (November 5, 2016) – The Canada Ski Cross team is heading into the season as the ones to beat after finishing the 2015-16 season with the coveted Nations Cup trophy, 18 World Cup podium finishes and two X-Games gold medals. After capturing a podium at every single stop on the World Cup tour, Canada Ski Cross has proven they have a deep roster of talent. With 10 other nations vying for the coveted Nations Cup, Canada’s top talent will be pushing hard in every race this season to defend their title.
The 2016-17 season marks a World Championship year as well as the start of Olympic qualifications for the 2018 PyeongChang Games. “From here on out, each race will be important for the athletes as they vie for the opportunity to represent Canada at the World Championships and the Olympics,” said Willy Raine, Canada Ski Cross Athletic Director. “This team is the best in the world and after many months of training they are hungry for more World Cup podiums. Veterans like Chris Del Bosco, Brady Leman, Marielle Thompson, Georgia Simmerling and Kelsey Serwa will be leading our team at the World Cup level and they are setting the bar high for our Next Gen National Team athletes. It is inspiring for our younger athletes to be able to train and gauge their progression knowing that the senior team athletes are the best in the world and have had so much success.”
The team’s first race of the season is a double-header in Val Thorens, France, where Marielle Thompson has previousy won and Chris Del Bosco is a defending champion, followed by ten other stops on the tour from December through March, culminating in Sierra Nevada, Spain in March for the World Championships.
The FIS Ski Cross World Cup tour will once again drop in on North America on March 5, 2017 for the World Cup Finals at Blue Mountain, Ontario. Returning to the venue after a three-year hiatus, Eastern Canada will be treated to the big air, high-speed ski cross show.
“I am really excited to be going back to Blue Mountain this March,” said Canada Ski Cross team athlete, 24-year-old Marielle Thompson. “It's a special place for me since it was the site of my first World Cup win. It'll be great to race in front of enthusiastic Canadian fans again. This pre-season I've had high quality on-snow training and made some big gains in the gym. It's great for me to always be pushing my limits. After finishing last season second overall in the world, I'm looking forward to getting back to World Cup action and racing for the crystal globe.”
The Whistler-B.C.-native, finished the 2015-16 season ranked second overall with six World Cup podiums and a silver medal in the X-Games. With a total 23 career podiums, Thompson is an undeniable force on the circuit and will be a threat to the podium all season long.
Joining Thompson on the women’s team is Kelsey Serwa from Kelowna, B.C. who found the podium twice last year and was crowned the 2016 X-Games Ski Cross Champion. With an Olympic silver-medal in ski cross, and 18 World Cup podium finishes, Serwa will be another Canadian to keep an eye on.
And coming back from the summer Olympics with a bronze medal in track cycling, West Vancouver, B.C.’s Georgia Simmerling is back on skis and looking to add to her five World Cup podium finishes. After a career wracked with injury blips, she’ll be looking to stay healthy and strong all season long to begin the qualifying journey for the 2018 Games.
The strength of the women on the Canada Ski Cross team is not to be outshined by the deep pool of talent on the men’s team. Canada’s most experienced ski cross racer, Chris Del Bosco, finished last season ranked second overall with teammate Brady Leman right behind him in third-place. Del Bosco holds the lead among the Canada Ski Cross team for the most World Cup podiums at 24. He was also crowned World Champion in 2011 and will have a chance to win the title again in March.
"I'm very happy with the success I have achieved so far on the world stage, but there are still a few things I'd like to accomplish,” said Canadian Ski Cross Team member, Chris Del Bosco. “After finishing second overall for the fourth time last season, I'd like to move up one spot and bring home the Crystal Globe! I can't wait to finish the season off with another World Championships. I've been World Champion before and I'd love to add another medal as we head into another Olympic Games.”
Leman has also had his fair share of time on the podium with his debut in 2011 and wracking up 15 more since then. With five podiums last season, Leman found consistency in his game plan execution. Adding to his accomplishments, Leman was named the 2016 X-Games Champion.
Toronto, Ontario’s Kevin Drury had a personal best season in 2015-16 making it to the big final for the first time in his career at the Olympic test event in PyeongChang. Returning from injury, Dave Duncan will be looking to be back on the podium. With seven podiums to his name and an X-Games silver and bronze medal, he’s proven he can race with the best.
Keep an eye out for the next generation of ski cross greats as Canada Ski Cross C Team Members Brittany Phelan, Kristofor Mahler and Ian Deans join the ranks of the best racers in the world as they look to qualify and complete in World Cup races on the circuit this winter. Ned Ireland won the Nor-Am Cup and South American Cup titles last year, earning himself a spot on the World Cup circuit where he'll be competing with the best in the world.
Athletic Director: Willy Raine
Head Coach: Stanley Hayer
Brittany Phelan (C Team)
Chris Del Bosco
Mathieu Leduc (injury status)
Ian Deans (C Team)
Kristofor Mahler (C Team)
Ned Ireland (D Team)
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