Calgary, Alta. (April 9, 2018) – The Canada Ski Cross program continues to demonstrate its strength, both at the World Cup level and the Next Gen level. There is a deep pool of budding ski cross talent in Canada that is currently dominating the Nor-Am Cup circuit. Many of Canada’s Next Gen ski cross athletes have had World Cup starts this year and the overall Nor-Am Cup winners will earn a World Cup start at every race next year.
Reece Howden (Cultus Lake, B.C.) and Tiana Gairns (Prince George, B.C.) both took top spots on the Nor-Am Cup circuit, securing their starts in all 2018-19 World Cup races. Howden landed on the podium six times this season, including capturing four wins.
“The Nor-Am Cup season started out at Nakiska following the World Cup races there,” said Howden. “It was a difficult way to start the season with the World Cup guys racing there. I was super excited about being able to win both races at Nakiska. That win was what really made me believe I could win the Nor-Am Cup title. After that I just kept skiing as fast as I could and had some great results. I was nervous heading into the Nor-Am Cup Finals at RED Mountain but I really focused and I’m happy with how the season ended.”
Gairns secured eight podiums on the Nor-Am Cup circuit this season, including two wins. She also had her first World Cup start at the Nakiska, Alta. race, finishing in an impressive sixth-place. Gairns also raced in the Sunny Valley, RUS World Cup, finishing in eighth-place.
“The Nor-Am season was really competitive this year,” said Gairns. “There were a lot of girls that made the racing really fun. It was definitely a goal to clinch the overall. I’m really glad that I managed to pull through. It was really tight racing until the end and I didn’t get it by a lot. I’m excited to make use of my World Cup starts next year.”
Victor Dockal led the Canada Ski Cross Next Gen Team this year, focusing on team building and skills progression. This was Dockal’s first season with the team.
“They had a very strong team bond, which was great to see,” said Dockal. “They succeeded as a group, which made individuals better. We focused on making the little things right at all times.”
Both the men’s and ladies’ Nor-Am Cup Overall podiums were a full Canadian sweep. On the men’s side, Howden took the top spot with Zach Belczyk (Banff, Alta.) in second-place and Jared Schmidt (Camp Fortune) in third-place. Gairns won the ladies’ circuit with Abby McEwen (Edmonton, Alta.) in second-place and Zoe Chore (Cranbrook, B.C.) in third-place.
For full Nor-Am Cup standings, click here.
CANADIAN NOR-AM RACES
The Nor-Am Cup is an essential stepping-stone in the path to developing World Cup and Olympic Champions, and is held annually from December to March throughout the United States and Canada. The Canadian portion, the 2018 Sport Chek Nor-Am Cup, had three stops this season: Nakiska, AB, Calabogie Peaks, ON & RED Mountain, BC.
Alpine Canada would like to thank all local Race Organizing Committees that work tirelessly to ensure our athletes have venues available to race at. The race series would not exist without the incredible commitment of the countless volunteers who travel to the host resorts to work in the most trying of conditions to run the races effectively and safely; you are integral to building Canada’s future champions. We thank you for your passion.
Alpine Canada would also like to thank the many event partners who contributed to the success of these events: Alberta Sport Connection, Alberta Government, Government of Canada, Sport Check, Alberta Alpine, BC Alpine, Alpine Ontario Alpin, Nakiska Ski Area, Calabogie Peaks, the Snow Cross Academy, RED Mountain Resort, the Red Mountain Racers, World Cup Supply and SkiCatalogue.com.
ABOUT ALPINE CANADA
Alpine Canada is the national governing body for alpine, para-alpine and ski cross racing in Canada. With the support of valued corporate partners along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, world championship and World Cup medallists to stimulate visibility, inspiration and growth in the ski community.