BY: Gordie Bowles and Don Cameron PHOTOGRAPHY: Alpine Canada / Malcolm Carmichael
S-Comp has queued up the 2016 World Cup ski cross season with a few key storylines to follow. Will ski cross vets Brady Leman and Chris Del Bosco return to their winning ways? And will the Canadian 1-2 punch of Marielle Thompson and Kelsey Serwa hold off Sweden’s Anna Holmlund?
Men’s Ski Cross
BRADY LEMAN, CANADA
A perennial challenger for the crystal globe, Leman has two World Cup wins and 10 podiums to his credit. Haunted by injuries throughout his career, he was just off the podium in fourth at the Sochi Olympics. Leman had a good start to the season, winning a Sept. 1 Australia FIS race.
CHRIS DEL BOSCO, CANADA
The Del Bosco résumé is certainly not boring: seven World Cup wins, world champs and X Games gold, mountain biking prominence and one of the most audacious gambles in ski cross history when he wiped out at the 2010 Olympics, finishing out of the medals after refusing to settle for bronze.
JEAN FREDERIC CHAPUIS, FRANCE
Pacesetter for France’s dramatic podium sweep at the Sochi Olympics, Chapuis also owns a gold from world championships (2013) and a half-dozen World Cup wins. Chapuis earned the ski cross crystal globe last season after taking fourth, fourth and seventh the previous three seasons.
Women’s Ski Cross
MARIELLE THOMPSON, CANADA
The 2014 Sochi Olympic gold medallist ahead of teammate Kelsey Serwa, Thompson has 17 World Cup podiums, including three wins last season and nine in her career. The Whistler Ski Club product reeled in the ski cross crystal globe in 2012 and 2014 and added a silver at 2013 worlds.
KELSEY SERWA, CANADA
Destined for the hills with a grandad who helped develop Big White, Serwa has racked up an Olympic silver, 2011 world champs gold and the top prize at the 2011 X Games. Despite a rash of knee injuries, she boasts 16 career World Cup podiums and returns after sitting out a season.
ANNA HOLMLUND, SWEDEN
Third at the Sochi Games behind two Canadians, Holmlund won the crystal globe last season as well as in 2011. She owns 13 World Cup wins and bronze from 2011 worlds. She finished last season red-hot, winning her final six events — a trio of World Cuppers and three FIS races.