Five Canadians in top 10 at World Cup ski cross at Blue Mountain Resort
Blue Mountains, Ont. (Jan. 26, 2019) – Canada’s Ski Cross Team racers took full advantage of the home crowds, racing to the podium at the FIS Audi World Cup ski cross at Blue Mountain Resort on Saturday.
Brady Leman (Calgary/Calgary Alpine Racing Club) stood atop the men’s podium for the first time this season with his gold-medal big final, while Marielle Thomson (Whistler, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club) earned her third silver medal of the season in the women’s event.
“Today was another amazing day here at Blue Mountain for me. I’ve been really successful so I have a lot of confidence on this course,” said Leman who has been feeling under the weather, which made Saturday’s race a mental battle as well as a highly competitive physical race. “Today was a bit of a mental battle for me. But as soon as I got racing, that’s what mattered – racing the heats and enjoying the atmosphere, and having fun. (I could hear the fans cheering) every run, it’s so cool coming down (the course), every race, and little kids lining up to high-five you on the way to the chair – it’s really special.”
Leman was dominant throughout the heats, and had to avoid a crash near the end of the final to secure his victory.
Also dominating her heats was Thompson, who was in the lead during most of the big final; Switzerland’s Fanny Smith passed her in the final stretch to the finish to bump Thomson to second.
“I think I skied really well in every heat. I made a bit of a mistake over the jump into the second-last turn in the final, and that definitely cost me,” said Thompson, who has been on the World Cup podium in four of six starts this season, and 35 times in her ski cross career. “But I’m really happy to be on the podium in Canada – it’s such a great crowd out here. It’s so exciting.”
Leman and Thompson were two of a total of 18 Canadian racers in the field.
Racing in the final against Thompson was Brittany Phelan (Mont-Tremblant, Que./Mont-Tremblant Ski Club), whose crash had fans worried as she remained tangled up in the netting for a few tense minutes. Uninjured, Phelan finally skied down and over the final Audi R8 jump to the finish to congratulate her racing mates and acknowledge the cheering fans. She was forced to settle for fourth.
Toronto’s Kevin Drury, 30, and 20-year-old Reece Howden (Cultus Lake, BC / Club Apex Ski Club) went head to head in the small final which Drury won to claim fifth-place overall while Howden placed seventh.
Chris Del Bosco (Montreal and Vail, Col./Ski and Snowboard Club Vail) was edged in the eights, finishing 18th overall. Kevin MacDonald (Mississauga, Ont./Milton Heights Racing Club ABSX), Zach Belczyk (Banff, Alta./Sunshine Ski Club ABSX) and NextGen athletes Gavin Rowell (Prince George, BC) and Jared Schmidt (Ottawa, ON /Mont-Tremblant Ski Club) finished 38th, 39th, 44th and 45th respectively.
Meanwhile, the women of Canada’s Ski Cross Team all raced their way into the top-30. Kelsey Serwa (Kelowna, B.C./Big White Ski Club) finished ninth, India Sherret (Cranbrook, B.C./Kimberley Alpine Team) was 11th, Zoe Chore (Cranbrook, B.C./ Kimberly Alpine Ski Team) finished 16th, and Mikayla Martin (Squamish, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club) was 19th. NextGen athletes Hannah Schmidt (Ottawa, Ont./Camp Fortune Ski Club) and Alexa Velcic (Calgary/Club ABSX) finished 27th and 28th while Courtney Hoffos (Windermere, B.C./Windermere Ski Club) was 29th.
With Canada’s lone World Cup stop under their belts, Canada’s Ski Cross Team now heads to compete at the World Championships in Utah, Feb. 1-2.
Canadians have one more day to support national team athletes such as Leman, Thompson and their teammates on ski cross, alpine, and para-alpine national teams by enjoying a day on the slopes themselves. Alpine Canada has partnered with the Canadian Ski Council, Snowboard Canada, and Freestyle Canada – as well as more than 100 Canadian ski resorts across the country – to deliver National Ski and Snowboard Day, Jan. 26-27, 2019. Proceeds from every ticket purchased at HitTheSlopes.ca go back into supporting Canada’s high-performance athletes in alpine, para-alpine, ski cross, freestyle, and snowboarding.
Celebrate today’s podium results by joining the Medallists’ Circle
For the 2018-19 ski racing season, Alpine Canada is inviting ski fans to join the Medallists’ Circle. Donors are invited to commit a pledge for each podium performance by an Alpine Canada athlete this season at World Cup and World Championship events. All funds raised through the Medallists’ Circle will provide Canada’s alpine, para-alpine, and ski cross athletes with the resources needed to reach for the podium. For further information, please visit AlpineCanada.org.