Panorama, B.C. (March 7, 2022) -- In exciting mixed team action today, the Canadians broke out the short boards for a heated parallel head-to-head.
Cassidy Gray (Invermere, B.C.), Etienne Mazellier (Quebec City, QC), Justine Lamontagne (Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC), and Raphaël Lessard (Granby, QC) racked up the wins through the ladder, beating teams Germany, Italy, the United States and finally Austria in the final to claim the first podium step.
“It was awesome,” says head coach Francis Royal. “We're in front of the home crowd, I lost my voice, and we’re so proud of our entire team, it’s just fantastic.”
“To feel that Canadian energy, it was insane,” adds Gray.
Changing conditions challenged all racers to continually adapt as the short, 16-gate course moved from sunshine to shade, clear skies to overcast.
The victory was hard fought in each round, with the Canadians narrowly edging out the Italians in the quarter finals by only 0.08, and a North American showdown in the semi-finals against the American team which has been a dominant force in the individual events.
“I’m going to remember today for all of my life,” says Mazellier. “On paper we weren’t the most intimidating team, but we skied with the most heart and this is what happens when you do that.”
“It’s a team event, we all gave it our all,” adds Lessard. “Tonight, we’ll enjoy the moment and get ready for tomorrow.”
The team event adds a unique dynamic to ski racing, a typically individual sport. “This is the only event where you win with other people,” describes Gray. “In other events, if you win it means someone else didn’t win and they’re not having a good day, but today we all won and we all had a great day and all of Canada took a win today.”
FIS Junior World Ski Championships action continues tomorrow, March 8, with the men’s and women’s giant slalom events where Canada intends to continue their push for podiums with the energy of this win in their pocket: “Now they know they can be as competitive as any other nation which will be a great boost for their confidence,” says Royal. “We have momentum and let’s use this going forward into the technical events.”
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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.