Ski cross Olympic gold medallist Marielle Thompson will try to add a little more hardware to her growing collection this week when she competes for her third national title at the Sport Chek Ski Cross Canadian Championships at Sunshine Village.
The 21-year-old from Whistler, B.C., who claimed her second Crystal Globe as overall World Cup champion a few weeks ago, is part of a star-studded lineup of racers who will compete against up-and-coming young talent at the week’s Nor-Am Cup finals on Tuesday and Wednesday, before the men’s and women’s national titles go on the line on Friday.
“I’d like to be a three-time national champion – it has a nice ring to it,” said Thompson, the national title holder in 2011 and 2012. “I’m looking forward to racing with some of the younger girls. It was so fun for me to do it when I was younger – racing against Kelsey (Serwa), Ashleigh (McIvor, the 2010 Olympic champion) and Julia (Murray).”
Thompson, who in 2012 became the first Canadian to win a Crystal Globe as overall World Cup champion, is in the midst of a fairytale season. In addition to winning Olympic gold in Sochi, Russia – with her teammate, Serwa, picking up silver – she had an incredibly consistent 2013-14 World Cup campaign and scooped the title after finishing in the top 5 in every race, which included winning the final event of the year.
Thompson will be the star attraction at this week’s Nor-Am Cup finals races. The ski cross Nor-Am circuit is for developing young racers and the overall champion each year – based on points accumulated throughout the season – earns a World Cup spot for the following season. Thompson’s presence gives young racers a chance to ski against one of the world’s best racers, as well as improve their points status.
“It’s our development ground for young racers,” said Canada Ski Cross director Dave Ellis, of the Nor-Am Cup finals. “We have a few young racers who just took part in the junior world championships and this is an important time for our coaching staff to look at the talent we have coming up.”
Thompson will be joined by fellow Sochi Olympian Brady Leman, of Calgary, Alta., in the Nor-Am Cup races, as well as national team racers Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta., and Louis-Pierre Hélie, of Berthierville, Que. All four will also compete in Friday’s national championships alongside Sochi Olympian and World Cup medallist Georgia Simmerling, of West Vancouver, B.C., and veteran Danielle Sundquist, of Calgary.
Canada’s Kevin MacDonald leads the ski cross Nor-Am standings with 792 points, ahead of the USA’s Robert Mahre (654). On the ladies’ side, the USA’s Tania Prymak leads the standings with 776, while Canada’s Abby McEwen is second with 660. Swiss racer Alex Fiva won the men’s final at last year’s Canadian championships, while Norway’s Marte Hoeie Gjefsen took the women’s race.
“It is our pleasure to host such tremendous ski cross racers on Sunshine’s slopes,” said Dave Riley, Chief Operating Officer, Sunshine Village Ski Resort. “From our Olympians to development athletes, we are proud to cheer on Canada’s best as they compete for both the national and Nor-Am titles.”
For more info, see: http://www.alpinecanada.org/ski-cross
Photo of Marielle Thompson courtesy of FIS via alpinecanada.org
SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles