Calgary, Alta. (March 12, 2023) – It was a memorable day for Canada’s alpine ski team with five athletes stepping onto the podium today in ski cross and para-alpine World Cup racing.
Tiana Gairns (Prince George, BC) captured her first career podium with a third place finish at today’s FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Veysonnaz, Switzerland. This is her fifth consecutive top 10, and sixth in 10 races this season. On the men’s side, Reece Howden (Cultus Lake, BC) raced to third today, his sixth podium in 10 races this season. Howden maintained his first place ranking in the seasons overall standings heading into the World Cup Finals next weekend at Craigleith Ski Club in Collingwood, Ontario.
“It feels pretty darn good,” said a grinning Gairns. “It’s a little bit of a relief too. I feel like I’ve been pushing towards that podium for a while now so cracking into it and getting on there feels really good.”
At the FIS Para Alpine Ski World Cup Finals in Sella Nevea, Italy, Brian Rowland (Merrickville, ON) stepped onto the podium for the first time in his career in today’s men sitting downhill race.
“It’s almost unbelievable,” said Rowland. “It was super fast out there and it wasn’t pretty but I just gave it my best and held on. People were cheering at the finish and when I saw my time, I was a couple of seconds faster than yesterday so I knew I had a shot at a podium. It’s pretty awesome!”
Frédérique Turgeon (Candiac, QC) continued her strong downhill season taking bronze in today’s women standing race, her fourth Word Cup podium this season to go along with a World Championships bronze medal. Alexis Guimond (Gatineau, QC) raced to bronze in men standing for the second day in a row, his fifth podium this season including a bronze in the downhill at the World Championships.
“I thought that I had a better approach today,” said Guimond. “It was better conditions, but still a difficult day. It was tough competition, but my performance was better and while I’m always aiming higher, I’m happy with today’s bronze medal.”
Back at ski cross, the women’s semi final was an all-Canadian affair with some very tight racing amongst the four Canadians. Marielle Thompson (Whistler BC) and Gairns and finished 1-2 to advance to the finals, with Hannah Schmidt (Ottawa, ON) and India Sherret (Cranbrook, BC) moving to the small final.
Thompson finished fourth on the day and was part of five Canadian women in the top 8, with Courtney Hoffos (Windermere, BC) finishing sixth, Schmidt seventh and Sherret eight.
“It was pretty cool having four Canadians together in the semis” added Gairns. “It helped me relax and got rid of some of the nerves. It felt more like a training heat and took some of the pressure off knowing that two of us were going to go through. I was lucky enough to be one of them.”
Brady Leman (Calgary, AB) advanced to today’s small final on the men’s side, ultimately finishing sixth. Kevin Drury (Toronto, ON) was ninth, Kris Mahler (Canmore, AB) 13th and Jared Schmidt (Ottawa, ON) 17th rounded out the Canadians.
At the men’s FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup Giant Slalom in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Erik Read (Canmore, AB) was the top Canadian finishing 28th to score World Cup points. Asher Jordan (North Vancouver, BC) and Liam Wallace (Calgary, AB) didn’t complete their first runs.
Para-alpine continue World Cup Finals in Cortina, Italy, March 14-17
Alpine World Cup Finals run March 14 through 19
Ski cross World Cup Finals are at Craigleith Ski Club in Collinwood, Ontario, next weekend with racing on Friday and Saturday, March 17 and 18.
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About Alpine Canada
Alpine Canada is the governing body for alpine, para-alpine, and ski cross racing in Canada, as well as for Canadian ski coaches, providing education, certification, insurance, and compliance with the coaching code of conduct. With the support of valued corporate partners and donors, along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Coaching Association of Canada, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup athletes to stimulate visibility, inspiration, and growth in the ski community. In 2020/21, Alpine Canada celebrated 100 years of rich tradition in competitive skiing in Canada.