Canadian Ski Jumping Team Set to Take Flight on 2023-24 Season
CALGARY—Canada’s ski jumping squad will look to continue their historic flight when they leap into the 2023-24 season with the opening of the FIS Ski Jumping Grand Prix summer series this weeked in Courcheval, France.
Ski Jumping Canada named four women and one man from Calgary – Ale Loutitt, Abigail Strate, Natalie Eilers, Nicole Maurer and Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes – to its National Team. Loutitt, Strate and Boyd-Clowes were all part of Canada’s historic Olympic bronze-medal winning team in the debut of the mixed team event at Beijing 2022.
Ale Loutitt and Abigail Strate – who led the Canadian women’s team to 24, top-10 finishes on the World Cup and summer Grand Prix events last year that included three World Cup podium finishes (1 gold, 1 silver, 1 bronze) and two World Championship titles, will take flight July 29-30 in Courcheval, France. Nicole Mauer will join Canada’s dynamic duo in Szczyrk, Poland, August 5-6, for the second of five events on the Grand Prix.
“We are once again assembling a group of talented young athletes who have demonstrated they can deliver under the most intense pressure and perform at the highest level,” said Mike Bodnarchuk, co-chair, Board of Directors, Ski Jumping Canada, who added the bulk of the team continues to take advantage of being centralized at the National Team Training Centre in Slovenia. “This is a tight-knit group that mixes veteran leadership with youthful energy and drive. Together, they have had to continue to battle the adversities our sport faces in their development, but they remain fiercely determined to achieve their performance goals while keeping their dreams of flying for Canada alive.”
Since four of Canada’s ski jumpers stepped onto the Olympic podium for the first time in the rich history of the sport, Ale Loutitt has grabbed international headlines for the Canucks. The 19-year-old sensation will look to build on a historic season where she became the first woman to win the World Championships and World Junior Championships in the same year, weeks after beoming the first Canadian woman to land on top of the World Cup podium.
“I’m really looking forward to the new season. I’m in good physical condition and I feel well prepared for the competitions ahead,” said Loutitt. “I hope this season I can continue to inspire Canadians from coast-to-coast and make everyone proud.”
Loutitt’s comrade on the World Cup, Abigail Strate, had a breakout season of her own in 2022-23. After an early-season victory on the Continental Cup and two, fourth-place finishes on the World Cup, the 22-year-old snagged her first career bronze medal at a World Cup stop in Hinterzarten.
“Last year was a breakthrough season for me, but more importantly a season of lessons that will help me moving forward. Each year, I am taught more about what I can and cannot control, the importance of rest and recovery while being really aware of the importance of balancing sport and life – knowing when its time to push myself in training and when to take a step back and recover. I am confident this balance will pay off in winter, when we are in the intense competition mode,” said Strate, who led the Canadian women with a 10th-place raking in the overall World Cup standings last year.
“I love summer jumping. It is a great opportunity to try new things, play around with equipment and technique on consistent conditions, so I’m looking forward to getting back to the top of the hill.”
Calgary’s 23-year-old, Nicole Maurer, will be back in competition mode next month in Poland. Maurer, who is a critical member of the women’s team, qualified for 12 World Cups and one Grand Prix last season. She is focused on fighting her way into the top-30 regularly in the season ahead.
“I am looking forward to getting back competing this summer in prepration for the winter season schedule,” said Maurer. “This year my focus will be on achieving stronger, more consistent results throughout the World Cup season.”
Natalie Eilers, who is completing her finance degree, will not compete during the summer season. The 25-year-old will rejoin the team at its Slovenian headquarters this fall for the complete winter schedule. A second-place finisher at a Continental Cup event, Eilers will also strive to consistently place in the top-30 on the World Cup this year.
Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes, 31, will also return to the World Cup circuit this winter. The four-time Olympian is poised to improve on a career-best sixth place finish on the World Cup while focusing on improving technique and consistency in pursuit of his performance goals when he matches up against the best in the world.
Ski Jumping Canada has a highly-accomplished coaching staff leading the nation’s best at the elite level. Janko Zwitter continues as head coach of the women’s team. The Austrian has coached athletes to two Olympic medals, 66 World Cup victories, four World Cup titles, eight World Championship medals and 26 Grand Prix podiums throughout his career. Slovenia’s Igor Cuznor will support Zwitter as assistant coach. Uros ‘Balki’ Vrhovec, a former Coach of the Year in Slovenia, returns as head coach of the men’s program. He will be supported once againi by Urban ‘Jaro’ Jarc in the assistant coaching role.
Ski Jumping Canada is the governing federation for ski jumping in Canada. It is responsible for the governance of all ski jumping competitions in Canada and for the operation of the national team. For more information, please visit skijumpingcanada.ca.
Chris Dornan, Communications Advisor
Ski Jumping Canada