Nakiska, CAN (January 15, 2022) -- It was a second action-packed day of racing at the Nakiska ski resort for the World Cup’s only Canadian stop on the ski cross circuit.
With snow conditions and weather taking its toll on the course, racers had to contend with both the elements and each other as they pushed for results in the final qualifying race before the 2022 Winter Olympic Games.
In an exciting men’s big final with two Canadians kicking out of the gates, Kris Mahler (Canmore, AB) kept Germany’s Florian Wilmsmann at bay despite his attempts to push for a pass. Switzerland’s Ryan Regez rounded out the podium with Brady Leman finishing fourth. This first place finish is Kris’ first since the 2019-2020 season, and his season’s best so far. It’s also a continuation of Canadian excellence at Nakiska, with teammate Reece Howden taking home the gold at the last event in 2020.
“It’s a surreal experience to win a World Cup,” says Kris fresh off his win. “I was pretty close to tears when I crossed the finish because it’s been a while since I’ve reached the big final. I’m just taking it all in, hugging my parents, looking to the fans, giving my teammates high fives and enjoying this moment. I’ve been here once before at Val Thorens for my first podium and first World cup win but this one is extra special on home soil,” added the racer whose best result so far this season was a 10th place at Innichen, ITA in December.
Marielle Thompson (Whistler, BC) continued to gain momentum since her return from injury laying down some dominant runs in the heats, winning one by over a second. Racing against this season’s points leader Sandra Naeslund of Sweden and frequent finalist Fanny Smith of Switzerland in the big final, Marielle had her work cut out for her. An accidental sweep of the skis had both Marielle and Fanny crashing hard around the second turn, but ultimately after review Marielle was awarded the silver.
“I’m happy to be on the podium and I’m fortunate I was able to ski away from that crash,” tells Marielle who has stepped on the podium four times this season. “I had some speed today and I continue to be faster out of the start so I’m headed into the next races with confidence.”
Teammate Hannah Schmidt (Ottawa, ON) pushed into the small finals for the second day in a row, finishing 5th yesterday and 6th today alongside Tiana Gairns (Prince George, BC) who earned 7th place today.
The Canadian Ski Cross team will be passing on the races in Idre Fjäll, SWE to prepare for departure to the Olympic Games in China. The ski cross events will take place in China on February 17 for the women and February 18 for the men.
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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.