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Abigail Strate lands in eighth place in women’s event

COURCHEVAL, Fra.—Canada’s teenage ski jumping sensation, Ale Loutitt, added another chapter to the history books after snagging a bronze medal at the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix summer series opener in Courcheval, France on Saturday.

The 19-year-old Calgarian won her first career Grand Prix medal with a total of 167.1 points on the women’s large hill (132 metres).

“I’m pleased with the start of the season. It’s definitely exciting to start the season off on a high note with my first career Grand Prix podium,” said Loutitt, who exchanged her ski boots for her comfy moccasins as she traditionally does post event as a nod to her indigenous heritage.

Loutitt was in sixth place after her first jump of 112.5 metres. She launched herself onto the podium with a stellar final leap of 120.5 metres in her second and final jump.

“There are certainly a few issues to be ironed out, but I’m happy that I still have room to grow and improve moving forward,” added Loutitt.

Slovenia’s Nika Kriznar took the first gold medal of the summer season with a total of 203.7 points. Japan’s Sara Takanashi secured second spot on the podium with 193.7 points after throwing down the top jump of the day at 131.0 metres in the final round.

The only other Canadian in the field of 26 women from around the world was Abigail Strate. The 22-year-old cracked the top-10 after racking up 131.2 points in her two jumps off the large hill.

“I have some mixed emotions for today’s competition. My jumps were good, but I was unfortunately very unlucky with the wind conditions, which is a factor out of my control,” said Strate, who mixed together jumps of 113 and 98 metres. “I cannot say that I am entirely pleased with how today went, but I know things are going in the right direction, and I am keen to keep progressing through the summer and up until the winter start.” 

The Canadian duo of Ale Loutitt and Abigail Strate are picking up where they finished a breakout 2022-23 season that saw them lead the Canadian women’s team to 24, top-10 finishes on the World Cup and summer Grand Prix events last season which included three World Cup podium finishes. Loutitt also made history winning both the senior and junior women’s World Championship titles last winter.

“Overally, I’m absolutely happy with the results today. Starting with a podium in the very first competition is amazing and shows us that we have been on the right path,” said Janko Zwitter, head coach, Canadian Women’s Ski Jumping Team, who has guided the program from a centralized training site in Slovenia. “There are still some things to be improved, but these results for the first competition is good for the confidence, and was a very positive boost. It will keep the girls working hard on the areas they need to continue to improve. I’m really looking forward to the next competitions and the upcoming winter season.”

Ski jumping is performed in the summer on an in-run where the tracks are made from porcelain and the grass on the slope is covered with water-soaked plastic. A core part of an athlete’s development and season-long competition schedule, summer ski jumping began in 1994 for men. Women began jumping competitively during the summer months in 2012.

“As a winter athlete, I am a little bit embarrassed because I have always loved summer jumping,” added Strate. “The biggest difference (and my favourite) is that the sun is always shinning, and my toes are never cold! The setting on the hill is unique, but the whole movement of the jump is the same. In the summer, the conditions are more consistent on the landing hill, as we are not having to deal with varying snow conditions, such as ice vs powder on the landing.”

The opening event of the 2023 Grand Prix season will resume on Sunday in Courcheval.

Complete Women’s Grand Prix Results:

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Chris Dornan, Communications Advisor

Ski Jumping Canada
Tel: 403-620-8731