Canada Races to Silver in Team Ski Cross at World Championships
Calgary, Alta. (February 26, 2023) — Canada took silver today in the first ever world championship mixed team ski cross race at the 2023 Ski Cross World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia. Racing for Canada in the team event were Marielle Thompson (Whistler BC), competing in her seventh world championships, and Reece Howden (Cultus Lake, BC), in his third world championships.
Racing on the same day, and just a couple of hours after the individual event that was delayed a day due to weather conditions, the racers took to the course in Bakuriani under sunny and windy conditions. Canada dominated the semifinals and faced eventual winner Sweden, as well as Italy and France in the finals. Under the team format, the men raced first in the finals with Canada having a slight advantage heading into the final race of the team competition. But Sweden managed to overcome the time deficit to finish in first, with Canada a strong second. This is Thompson’s third world championships medal and the first for Howden.
“It was a big day with the singles and the team in the same day,” said Thompson. “Reece was skiing so well today, he gave the team a great opportunity and I’m really happy with the result. Our team here
was so supportive, they were cheering the whole day and thank you to everyone watching back in Canada. It was a long race day, the longest one ever, so thank you for the support.”
“It’s pretty special to be sharing the podium with Marielle,” said a smiling Howden. “She’s done so much in this sport and it’s a big deal to have this piece of history with her. We’re usually an individual sport so it’s cool to be racing on behalf of someone, with a teammate like Marielle. It was a lot of fun and I’m really happy to be leaving the world championships with some hardware.”
Earlier today in the individual races, Howden and Thompson, were both strong through the heats in advancing to the finals, where both settled for fourth place finishes.
Kevin Drury (Toronto, ON), coming off a bronze medal in his last world championships, battled his way to the small final on the men’s side and won the small final to finish fifth overall. Brady Leman (Calgary, AB), in his seventh world championships, also advanced to the small final, ultimately finishing seventh. And Jared Schmidt (Ottawa, ON) competing in his first world championships, rounded out the Canadians racing today at the world championships finishing 17th.
“The team performed really well today,” said Stanley Hayer, Ski Cross Head Coach. “There were some small mistakes in the individual races that kept us off the podium, but the team came back really
motivated for the team event and delivered a silver medal. Marielle and Reece are always near the top in World Cup races and they were solid today. The conditions this week were challenging but the athletes really focused and stepped up today.”
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Para-alpine race in Kitzbühel, Austria, February 27 and 28
Women speed are in Kvitfjell, Norway, March 3 to 5
Men speed are in Aspen, United States, Mar 3 to 5
Ski cross move to Veysonnaz, Switzerland Mar 12