Original article posted at alpinecanada.org
Canada’s best ski cross competitors return to competition this weekend in Val Thorens, France, the latest stop on the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup schedule.
Marielle Thompson (Whistler, BC) and Georgia Simmerling (Vancouver, BC), the top two ranked female ski cross racers in the world, will lead Canada’s podium chances in Val Thorens for the women.
Thompson and Simmerling finished 1-2 at the last ski cross World Cup event in Nakiska, AB in early December. Thompson, with 100 points, and Simmerling, with 80, currently lead the World Cup standings.
On the men’s side, David Duncan (London, ON), Brady Leman (Calgary, AB), Chris Del Bosco (Montreal, QC), Tristan Tafel (Canmore, AB), Louis-Pierre Helie (Berthierville, QC) and Ian Deans (Kelowna, BC) will compete for Canada in Val Thorens.
“This is a great course for me with big jumps and drafting,” says Leman, currently sitting in eighth place in the World Cup standings. “I know my skis are running well on this hill and I’ve been successful here in the past.”
Leman finished fourth at the 2014 World Cup stop in Val Thorens, finishing just teammate and fifth place finisher David Duncan.
Two ski cross races will take place this weekend. Race #1 (men and women) goes Friday, Jan. 9 at 3 a.m. MT, with Race #2 (men and women) being held on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 5:30 a.m. MT.
Who is skiing for Canada this weekend (ski cross):
Marielle Thompson, Georgia Simmerling
Chris Del Bosco, Ian Deans, David Duncan, Louis-Pierre Helie, Brady Leman, Tristan Tafel
Meanwhile, Canada’s alpine stars will also have the chance to shine on The Audi FIS Ski World Cup circuit, Saturday and Sunday.
Two technical races take place this weekend in Adelboden, Switzerland for the men, starting with Saturday’s Giant Slalom. Trevor Philp (Calgary, AB) will look to build on his top-20 result in the last GS, which took place Dec. 21 in Italy. He is joined by teammates Phil Brown (Toronto, ON), Dustin Cook (Lac-Sainte-Marie, QC), Erik Read (Calgary, AB) and Ford Swette (North Vancouver, BC).
On Sunday, Julien Cousineau (Lachute, QC), Philp, Brown and Read will see their skills tested on the famous slalom track.
“Adelboden is an exceptionally challenging slope with ever-changing pitches and rollers,” says Paul Kristofic, Vice President of Sports at Alpine Canada Alpin. “The elevator shaft-like steep final pitch greets the racers and challenges them through the final turns of the GS and slalom. Huge crowds are the norm at Adelboden.”
Meanwhile, the women are in Austria for Saturday’s downhill, Sunday’s Super-G and Tuesday’s slalom.
Larissa Yurkiw (Owen Sound, ON) will be Canada’s lone competitor in the downhill, which takes place at Bad Kleinkirchheim, also the site of Sunday’s Super-G.
As for Tuesday’s slalom in Flachau, Erin Mielzynski (Guelph, ON) and Marie-Michèle Gagnon (Lac-Etchemin, QC) will be bringing great momentum coming off 6th and 7th-place finishes, respectively, in Zagreb, Croatia.
“Both have the speed for the podium this weekend and will need to execute on their plan in both runs for a shot at the steps (on Tuesday),” says Kristofic.
Candace Crawford (Toronto, ON) and Brittany Phelan (Mont-Tremblant, QC) will also compete in the slalom.
Who is skiing for Canada this weekend (alpine):
Downhill: Larissa Yurkiw
Super-G: Larissa Yurkiw
Slalom: Candace Crawford, Marie-Michèle Gagnon, Erin Mielzynski, Brittany Phelan
Giant Slalom: Phil Brown, Dustin Cook, Trevor Philp, Erik Read, Ford Swette
Slalom: Phil Brown, Julien Cousineau, Trevor Philp, Erik Read
Also, the Canadian para-alpine team is set to compete in the first IPC World Cup race of the 2014-15 season in La Molina, Spain taking place on Thursday through to Sunday. The race originally was schedule to be both Giant Slalom and Slalom, however to do the extremely mild conditions in Spain there is limited snow and this World Cup will now only consist of four Slalom races.
Coming off a very successful 2013-14 season, the Canadian team is eager to hit the snow and let the competition begin. Throughout the season the team will be working towards qualifying for the IPC World Championships, which will be hosted at Panorama Mountain Resort located in British Columbia, February 28 – March 10, 2015.
Kimberly Joines, bronze medalist at the 2014 Sochi Paralymipic Games, is a serious contender for the podium this weekend.
Gold and 2-time bronze medalist Mac Marcoux (with his brother and guide BJ Marcoux) and Matt Hallat have been skiing exceptionally well during the pre-season and are determined to get back on the podium again in 2015.
Who is skiing for Canada this weekend (para-alpine):
Slalom Sitting: Kimberly Joines
Slalom Visually Impaired: Mac Marcoux (BJ Marcoux)
Slalom Standing: Braydon Luscombe, Matt Hallat
Slalom Sitting: Kirk Oatway