WORLD CUP DEBUTS FOR BENNETT AND VAN SOEST

WORLD CUP DEBUTS FOR BENNETT AND VAN SOEST

Photo Caption Roger Witney

For aspiring and promising young Canadian speed racers, Lake Louise is a mythical place. While most get to experience the track as part of the annual, early-season Downhill and Super G Nor-Am series, a select few have the chance to kick out of the Lake Louise start hut wearing a World Cup bib and with the world watching. 

Meet Sarah Bennett and Katrina Van Soest; two talented Canadian racers who will have the opportunity of a lifetime to compete in their maiden World Cup at Lake Louise in the Women’s Super G on Sunday. 

FOUR-DISCIPLINE STAR: SARAH BENNETT 

Sarah, 20, is a member of the Québec Ski Team and was also designated an Alpine Canada “Next Gen” athlete. She grew up racing at Stoneham Resort in Quebec. She attended the Northwood School at Lake Placid in New York State and has been taking communications courses at Concordia University since graduating from high school. 

Her ski racing career highlights include: 

18th in alpine combined at the 2020 World Junior Championships in Norway 

Eight top 10 Nor Am results in giant slalom, Super G and Downhill 

She has achieved five top 5 results at National Championships including winning the slalom on November 29, 2021 (make-up race for the 2021 season) and finishing third also in slalom as part of the 2020 National Championships both at Panorama 

“I’m very excited for my first World Cup, especially since my last races went very well,” tells Sarah. “I’m confident in my skiing right now, not necessarily waiting on any specific result but just looking forward to feeling good on the course at Lake Louise. It’s going to be amazing to see many of my teammates, my parents, and my sister when I will cross the finish line. I can’t wait for my run!” 

BORN FOR SPEED: KATRINA VAN SOEST 

Katrina, 22, is a member of the Alberta Ski Team. She grew up in Vernon, BC where she made her first tracks at Silverstar as a member of the Vernon Ski Club. Five years ago, she joined the Banff Alpine Racers. 

Her ski racing career highlights include: 

25th in the alpine combined at the 2020 World Junior Championships in Norway. 

Seven top 10 results on the Nor Am circuit – all in Super G and downhill. 

Third place finisher at the 2020 National Championships in Downhill at Panorama. 

Spent much of last season racing on the Europa Cup circuit, with her best result being a 37th place in Super G at Val di Fassa in Italy. 

“I’m just so excited; I just want to scream! But of course, I have to keep things under control,” shares Katrina. “I’ve forerun the World Cup a few times before so it’s not that new to me. It’s nice that I feel comfortable. To get ready for the Super G, we also did the downhill course inspection today, and the terrain looks awesome! I got a bunch of cues from that inspection and I’m super excited to ski the hill tomorrow! My parents will be cheering me on, and they are sticking around for the Nor-Am as volunteers.” 

LAKE LOUISE: AN IMPORTANT DEVELOPMENT STEP FOR THE NEXT GENERATION 

A start at Lake Louise will be an important step in the development of these promising Next Gen athletes, and great exposure to the difference between Nor-Am and World Cup pressures. 

“For Sarah and Katrina, racing in their first World Cup means taking in the intensity and learning to deal with the energy that comes with this caliber of racing,” explains Phil McNichol, High Performance Director with Alpine Canada. “It’s a real opportunity to learn to adapt. It’s also a chance for them to acquire valuable skills which they will carry with them for the rest of the season.” 

Following the World Cup events at Lake Louise, the course will be the stage of a week-long Nor-Am speed series. The best developing speed racers from Canada and the USA will compete head-on to earn prized Nor-Am points as well as valuable track experience in the hope of one day, transferring that mileage for a hoped World Cup start. 

We wish Sarah and Katrina all the best for their maiden World Cup races and we look forward to cheering them on! May their experiences mark the beginning of more exciting and successful World Cup races ahead! 

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