To say that Team Canada cleaned up at this year’s Audi FIS World Cup Ski Cross Finals at Blue Mountain Resort in Ontario would be a massive understatement. The Red and White took home double gold in the men’s and women’s categories, as well as a silver medal, Rookie of the Year award, and to top it all off, the Nations Cup for best overall team of the 2017 season.
Words: Nelson Phillips
Despite Ski Cross being an individual sport, taking home the Nations Cup on home snow solidifies Team Canada’s dedication to team culture and their values as a collective group.
Heralded as one of the most dominant athletes in Ski Cross, Whistler’s Marielle Thompson led the way for the women—literally—cruising to 1st place wins in every heat. Winning her 7th of the season, she also won the overall title taking home her third career Crystal Globe. Hugely modest, Thompson had the overall title on lock before putting on her skis, and didn’t celebrate as you’d expect after winning the final. A cool fist pump was all she gave the crowd crossing the finish line. An Olympic gold medalist to boot, Thompson won her first World Cup event at Blue Mountain Resort back in 2012.
“It’s great to be back here racing in front of all these Canadians cheering us on, it’s a lot of fun,” she said post-race. “I don’t think we’ve had this many people come out to our races to support us in a long time, so Blue Mountain is right up there—world class.”
The men didn’t disappoint either, with Brady Leman taking gold and veteran Chris Del Bosco claiming the silver in the final with an impressive come-from-behind rush in his first two heats. The two repeated their one-two punch finishes at Blue Mountain from 2012. Del Bosco played catch-up before winning his first heat, and squeaked through the semi-final in a nail-biter photo finish.
“The course layout worked really well,” said Del Bosco. “There was lots of passing; you could win it from the holeshot or you could win it from the back. That to me is a good course, and it’s awesome to have it in a place like this.”
Leman is no stranger to the top spot and thanks to quick starts out of the gate, led all four of his heats. The 30-year-old Calgary native also finished 2nd on the season, and gave praise for the course crew who fended off unseasonably mild weather in the weeks leading up to the event.
“The track was awesome, they did a great job,” he said. “The track was totally world class and the atmosphere was fantastic. A lot of people love racing here and, as Canadians, we love racing here.”
World Cup Finals Ladies’ Podium
1 – Marielle Thompson
2 – Sandra Naesland
3 – Fanny Smith
World Cup Finals Men’s Podium
1 – Brady Leman
2 – Chris Del Bosco
3 – Filip Flisar