2023-24 Team Canada Winter Preview: Alpine Skiing, Freestyle Skiing, Snowboard

Most mountain locales in Canada might still be over a month away from opening for ski and snowboard season, but the snow doesn’t wait for Team Canada’s athletes in international competition. 

With Canadians thriving in several snow sports, this winter is bound to bring excitement when cheering on Team Canada. To help you keep track of it all, here’s a sport-by-sport breakdown of alpine skiing, ski cross, snowboard cross, moguls, aerials, big air, slopestyle, halfpipe, and alpine snowboard. As dozens of Canadians get set to hit or jump off the snow, this guide ensures you know when to tune in through the coming months.

Alpine Skiing

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

The Canadian men’s speed team might be one of the most intriguing groups on the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup, headlined by Beijing 2022 Olympic alpine combined bronze medallist Jack (James) Crawford, who enters the season with a shot at both the downhill and super-G overall titles.

Jack Crawford gets some air as he skis in a super-G race
Canada’s James Crawford speeds down the course during an alpine skiing men’s world championship super-G race, in Courchevel, France, Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

After breaking onto the scene with his 2021-22 season, Crawford soared to new heights in 2022-23, as he finished fifth in the downhill World Cup standings, with four top-five finishes, including three podium appearances. That was in addition to his gold medal in the super-G at the world championships. 

Crawford, 26, is far from the only Canadian contender, as Cameron Alexander earned himself a bronze medal in the world championship downhill, a form the 26-year-old will hope to carry into the 2023-24 season. 

In the men’s speed events, it’s a new Canadian era of contention on the “White Circus,”  not seen since the likes of Erik Guay, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, and the “Canadian Cowboys.”

On the men’s technical side, veteran Erik Read will also hope to take another step towards competing for World Cup podiums this season. While the 32-year-old son of “Crazy Canuck” Ken Read has yet to reach the podium on the top stage in 150 starts, he enters the season as Canada’s talismanic tech veteran.

Among other men to watch are Broderick Thompson, Jeff Read, Brodie Seger, and Riley Seger, all of whom enter the season with ample experience. 

After training stints in Chile and Switzerland, the Canadian men get set for their season start in giant slalom in Soelden, Austria, October 28-29, before taking on the Zermatt-Cervinia downhill and super-G races November 8-12, a new World Cup stop that was cancelled last year.

The Canadian men will be without a scheduled World Cup race on home snow for the first time since 1988, with Lake Louise no longer on the World Cup program.

On the women’s side, the buzz is all about slalom and giant slalom, with Laurence St-Germain, Valérie Grenier, and Ali Nullmeyer, and a Canadian trio that has danced on the white circus with the best in the world in the last two seasons. 

Laurence St Germain holds up her gold medal and world champion trophy
Canada’s Laurence St-Germain shows her gold medal of the women’s world championship slalom, in Meribel, France, Saturday Feb. 18, 2023. (AP Photo/Alessandro Trovati)

St-Germain, 29, comes off a season where she captured the world championship slalom title, a watershed result that put her on the podium at the top level for the first time. In 2023-24, she will look to step onto the podium at the World Cup, where she has three top-five finishes. Meanwhile, Nullmeyer, 25, will look to consistently contend after finishing in the top five for her first time in slalom in 2022. 

Grenier, 26, has been a constant leader for the Canadian woman since her first top-five finish in super-G in 2018 on home snow in Lake Louise. However, the 2022-23 season brought her first World Cup podium breakthrough.

The St. Isidore, Que. native reached the podium for the first time in G.S. with a win in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, in January 2023 before grabbing a third-place finish in Grandvalira Soldeu-El Tarter, Andorra, in March. 

The winner Canada's Valerie Grenier celebrates with the team after an alpine ski, women's World Cup giant slalom race, in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023.
The winner Canada’s Valérie Grenier celebrates with the team after an alpine skiing, women’s World Cup giant slalom race, in Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, Saturday, Jan. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Giovanni Auletta)

This season, she will look for a third podium when the World Cup visits her childhood hill on Mont Tremblant December 2-3. The World Cup season begins in Soelden on October 28-29. 

Outside the trio, Amelia Smart, Britt Richardson, Cassidy Gray, and Kiki Alexander will look to further their mark on the premier racing circuit. 

Competitions will run until the end of March, ending with the World Cup Finals in Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, which will also host the next FIS Alpine World Championships in 2025.

Retirement Rundown:

After 272 World Cup starts representing Team Canada, Marie-Michèle Gagnon hung up her race skis after the 2022-23 season, ending a career that saw her win two World Cup races and reach five World Cup podiums. While injuries impacted her Olympic career, the 34-year-old was part of Team Canada for Vancouver 2010, Sochi 2014, and Beijing 2022.

Ski Cross

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Team Canada has been the preeminent force in World Cup ski cross since the discipline’s inception, and the 2023-24 season offers another opportunity to extend their run atop the competition as the team seeks an 11th Nations Cup title. 

Led by veteran Marielle Thompson, the Canadian women’s team is the deepest on the World Cup circuit, with the 31-year-old two-time Olympic medallist leading the way with 59 World Cup podiums and 25 wins. 

A female ski cross racer jumps for Team Canada
Canada’s Marielle Thompson skis during the women’s semifinal at the World Cup ski cross event at Nakiska Ski Resort in Kananaskis, Alta., Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Jeff McIntosh)

While the 2014 Olympic champion still leads the Canadian women, other talents are rising. Ottawa’s Hannah Schmidt, 29, skied onto the World Cup podium for her first time in Val Thorens, France, winning silver last season. 

In recent seasons, Tiana Gairns of Prince George, BC and Courtney Hoffos of Invermere, BC, have become constant challengers to the top athletes and have made their own podium appearances. 

Also fighting for podiums on the deep Canadian roster are Zoe Chore, Abby McEwen, India Sherret, and Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic silver medalist Brittany Phelan. Phelan only competed in the last two World Cup races of last season after rupturing her Achilles tendon in the fall. 

On the men’s side, Reece Howden, better known as “Big Rig” to his teammates due to his hulking size, is the athlete to beat after winning three races en route to his second Crystal Globe title in three seasons. 

While he had a down year in the 2021-22 Olympic season, he returned with vigour, reaching the podium seven times in 2022-23. Known for his strength in head-to-head competition and ability to overtake leads, Howden enters the season looking to defend his title.

However, Howden is far from the only regular Canadian medal threat, as 2019 Crystal Globe champion Kevin Drury returns as the 35-year-old veteran on the team, having earned 13 podiums in 82 World Cup starts. 

The World Cup season begins December 5-9 in Val Thorens, with the lone Canadian stop set for Nakiska, January 18-21, 2024.

Retirement Rundown:

Pyeongchang 2018 Olympic champion Brady Leman formally retired at the end of the 2022-23 season, saying goodbye to fans with a home snow victory in his final race in Collingwood, Ont. 

While the now 37-year-old won’t be with the group, the standard he set with 32 podiums and six wins in 144 World Cup starts emanates throughout the program.


Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch 

Mikaël Kingsbury is synonymous with Canadian sport and will continue to be throughout the 2023-24 FIS Freestyle World Cup Moguls season. 

A male moguls skier makes his way down the hill for Team Canada.
Canada’s Mikael Kingsbury skis in the qualification run of the men’s freestyle ski world cup moguls at Val Saint-Come, Que. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

The King of Moguls maintained his reputation in 2022-23, winning six gold and five silver medals in his 12 World Cup starts, an impressive effort which won him the overall Crystal Globe in moguls, dual moguls and combined. That brought his career Globe total to 24, making him history’s most successful freestyle skier. 

Coming off winning two more world titles (giving him eight in his career), the 31-year-old three-time Olympic medallist has high hopes heading into the new season. 

Yet, he is far from the lone Canadian man gearing up for the season, as Elliot Valliancourt, Gabriel Dufresne, Julien Viel, and Louis-David Chalifoux all get set to take on the World Cup stage. 

Maïa Schwinghammer is the lone woman on Canada’s full-time World Cup roster. However, the 22-year-old could be bound for a breakout season after finishing in the top five twice in 2022-23. 

Canadian moguls skiers will begin their season December 2-3 in Ruka, Finland and have a chance to ski to glory on home snow when the World Cup circuit visits Val St. Come, QC,  January 19-20.


Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Aerialist Marion Thénault will continue to lead the Canadian contingent on the World Cup this season as she comes off the best campaign of her young career.

In six World Cup starts, Thénault, 23, hit the podium four times, bringing her career total to seven podiums, highlighted by a pair of wins in Almaty, Kazakhstan in 2021 and Le Relais, Quebec last season. 

Marion Thenault of Canada warms up prior to competing in the freestyle skiing women’s aerials final 1 during the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Zhangjiakou, China, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Marion Thenault of Canada warms up prior to competing in the freestyle skiing women’s aerials final 1 during the Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Zhangjiakou, China, Monday, Feb. 14, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Sean Kilpatrick)

The Sherbrooke, Que. native also turned heads at the 2023 World Championships, finishing fourth. 

Finishing third overall in the World Cup rankings last season, Thénault will look to pass Australia’s Danielle Scott and Laura Peel and claim her first Crystal Globe in 2023-24. 

READ: Marion Thénault shares updates on her carbon neutrality journey

Flavie Aumond will join Thénault on the women’s World Cup circuit, with the 20-year-old looking to build on a top-five performance in Deer Valley, Utah last season. 

On the men’s side, a youthful Canadian team continues to gain experience with Miha Fontaine, Alexandre Duchaine, Lewis Irving, Émile Nadeau, and Victor Primeau. Fontaine and Irving joined Thénault to form the Canadian mixed aerials team that won bronze at Beijing 2022.

At 18, Duchaine had a breakout year on the World Cup scene in 2022-23, finishing sixth in the overall rankings, with three top-five finishes, including a fourth place in Le Relais. Meanwhile, Fontaine, now 19, has flirted with the podium three times with top-five finishes. 

The oldest Canadian men’s aerials team member is Irving, now 27. Still, the entire youth movement makes for an intriguing season for Canada as the group continues to develop ahead of Milano-Cortina 2026.

While the group kicks off the World Cup season in Ruka, December 2-3, they visit Lac-Beauport, Que. February 10-11 in the tour’s penultimate stop.

Big Air/Slopestyle Skiing

Who to Watch

Megan Oldham is entering the 2023-24 FIS Freestyle World Cup season full of confidence after reaching the podium twice at the 2023 World Championships in Bakuriani, Georgia, where she won bronze in big air and silver in slopestyle. 

Yet, her signature moment from last season came in big air at the X Games, where she became the first person in women’s ski or snowboard competition to land a triple cork 1440 (three flips and four off-axis rotations), winning gold with a perfect score of 50, before also winning gold in slopestyle. 

In the World Cup season, Oldham, 22, finished fifth overall, winning a big air competition at Copper Mountain, Colorado and a slopestyle third-place finish in Tignes, France. 

The Canadian big air and slopestyle team is deep on the women’s side, with Olivia Asselin and Elena Gaskell also competing as regular contenders, looking to improve further in 2023-24. 

Asselin, now 19, enters her fourth season on the World Cup with 16 starts and one podium to her name, having finished third in big air at Copper Mountain last season.

Meanwhile, Gaskell enters the 2023-24 season well removed from her ACL and meniscus injury that she suffered just days before she was to make her Olympic debut, allowing her to go full-out for the upcoming season. Now 22, Gaskell returns to the World Cup stage having already won once while reaching the podium four times.. 

Among the men, Evan McEachran, Max Moffatt and Noah Porter-Maclennan stand above the rest in competition. 

McEachran, a 26-year-old hailing from Oakville, Ont., enters the season with five World Cup podiums, including a slopestyle silver in Silvaplana, Switzerland from March 2023. At the same time, Moffat, 25, from Guelph, Ont. holds a win and three podium appearances in 35 World Cup starts across the two disciplines.

Porter-Maclennan finished third in the big air rankings at the end of the 2022-23 season.

The season began October 19-20 in Chur, Switzerland. Dylan Deschamps earned his first World Cup win and podium after topping the qualifying round before poor weather conditions deemed the final unskiable.

Ski Halfpipe

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Calgary’s Brendan Mackay has proven to be one of the world’s best halfpipe skiers throughout the last half-decade. Last season, he earned his first world championship medal, which happened to be gold. He also finished as the runner-up in the overall World Cup standings after winning the Crystal Globe in 2021-22.

The 26-year-old has been around the international scene since his first World Cup start as a teenager in 2013. Since then, he has gone on to make 33 starts, earning eight podiums and two wins — highlighted with wins at Calgary’s Snow Rodeo in 2021 and 2022, his home pipe.

Yet, the Crystal Globe contender is one of a deep Canadian halfpipe roster, with Simon D’Artois and Noah Bowman finishing among the top ten in 2022-23 and Dylan Marineau just outside in 11th. 

D’Artois, a 31-year-old from Whistler, BC, won the Crystal Globe in 2018-19 and enters his 12th World Cup season in 2023-24, hoping to add to his seven World Cup podiums. Meanwhile, Bowman looks to continue his consistency and add to a career with 13 World Cup podiums, three top-five Olympic finishes, and two X Games medals. 

The duo of Rachael Karker and Amy Fraser will continue to lead the Canadian women’s contingent in 2023-24 after finishing as the top two in the World Cup ranking in 2022-23, with Karker taking home her second Crystal Globe in three seasons. 

For Karker, it’s been an incredible past two seasons, winning Olympic and world championship bronze while adding seven World Cup podiums for good measure. Fraser finished second overall with just a single podium last season. 

With opening events in Secret Garden, China, December 7-9, the Canadian halfpipe skiers will hit home snow for the final World Cup event in Calgary February 15-17.

Snowboard Big Air/Slopestyle

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Canada’s slopestyle and big air snowboard team enters the 2023-24 season with big expectations, with the women’s team led by veterans Jasmine Baird and Laurie Blouin while the men’s team looks to Mark McMorris and Nicolas Laframboise.

Jasmine Baird, of Canada, makes her jump in The Style Experience FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup finals in Edmonton on Friday, December 10, 2022.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Jasmine Baird, of Canada, makes her jump in The Style Experience FIS Snowboard Big Air World Cup finals in Edmonton on Friday, December 10, 2022. (The Canadian Press/Jason Franson)

At 27, Blouin is one of the many riders trying to evolve and keep up with the new era of freestyle snowboard and recently joined the club of the few female riders in the world to land a triple cork 1260. It’s a similar battle for McMorris, 29, as he tries to continue evolving in the sport. 

For Baird, the season presents an opportunity to crack the overall podium for the first time in her career, coming off two straight fourth-place finishes despite winning one World Cup event and earning seven podiums. 

Yet, while the veterans provide competition and guidance, the focus on the men’s side lies on Laframboise and Cameron Spalding, the top two Canadians in the 2022-23 season. Spalding earned his first World Cup podium on Canadian snow, with a bronze medal performance at the Calgary Snow Rodeo.

Veteran rider Darcy Sharpe also returns for another kick on the circuit, as the 27-year-old from Comox, BC, seeks additions to his three World Cup podiums and four X Games medals. 

In the first event of the season in Chur, Canadians finished fourth in both men’s and women’s competitions, with Laframboise just missing out on the big air podium alongside Blouin. The tour will stop twice in Canada, with a December 8-9 stop in Edmonton and February 8-11 in Calgary.

Snowboard Halfpipe

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Team Canada’s snowboard halfpipe team might be small in numbers, but they’re hungry for international success. 

Elizabeth Hosking and Brooke D’Hondt are set to represent Canada in 2023-24 and could send shockwaves through the snowboard halfpipe world after they finished second and sixth, respectively, in 2022-23. 

At 22, Hosking, of Longueuil, Que. has 16 World Cup starts to her name, reaching the podium on two occasions while earning a silver medal at the world championships in 2023. 

Meanwhile, the 18-year-old D’Hondt enters her third season on the world stage, looking to build on a career-best finish of fourth, which she set on Canadian snow in Calgary last season. 

Liam Gill, a 20-year-old rider from Calgary, enters his fourth season with the national team and is set to be the lone Canadian man competing in the event this season as he looks to continue developing from his 11 World Cup starts. 

Riders hop into the pipe for the first time this season, December 6-8 in Secret Garden, China before hitting Canadian snow in Calgary from February 8-11 to end their World Cup seasons.

Snowboard Cross

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Team Canada snowboard cross athletes set their sights on significant goals and hardware as they approach the season with a promising group. 

Led by Eliot Grondin on the men’s side, the team has hope of an overall World Cup podium at the end of the season, with the 22-year-old two-time Olympic medallist having finished third overall in 2022-23. 

Grondin, a native of Sainte-Marie, Que., has been a constant threat for podium places since the 2020-21 season, when he finished second overall in the World Cup standings. After a 2022-23 season that saw him win a home snow race in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Que, and two other podiums, he is Canada’s top hope for a World Cup title this season. Throughout his career, he has nine World Cup podiums and three wins in 45 World Cup starts. 

However, the women’s side is most intriguing as another double Olympic medallist, Meryeta O’Dine, returns to the World Cup after missing the post-Olympic season of 2022-23. With an eagerly anticipated return, the 26-year-old will hope to pick up where she left off and add to her single World Cup podium appearance. 

While the duo that won the mixed team bronze medal highlights the Canadian squad, also keep an eye on Audrey McManiman, who has qualified for three big finals in her career, and Evan Bichon, who showed signs of improvement last season. 

Team Canada will have to wait for the first World Cup of the season, set for December 1-3 in Les Deux Alpe, France, before looking ahead to the rest of the season and the World Cup finals on home snow at Mont-Sainte-Anne, March 22-24.

Alpine Snowboarding

Competitions in Canada

Who to Watch

Canada’s Megan Farrell competes during the women’s parallel giant slalom elimination run at the 2022 Winter Olympics (AP Photo/Lee Jin-Man)

Team Canada may not be among the highest-ranked nations in alpine snowboarding, particularly in parallel giant slalom. Still, the 2023 World Championships and World Cup proved a breakout party for Canadian riders.

Arnaud Gaudet, 23, entered the worlds in Bakuriani without a single World Cup podium appearance but stunned spectators when he raced to third place in the parallel slalom and claimed the bronze medal, his first significant piece of hardware. 

Meanwhile, Megan Farrell achieved similar success on the World Cup circuit, winning bronze in a parallel giant slalom in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, the second World Cup podium of the 31-year-old’s career. 

With newfound success near the end of the 2022-23 season, the pair will hope to carry momentum into the 2023-24 campaign, which begins on December 14 with PGS in Carezza, Italy. A Canadian stop in Collingwood, Ont. is set for February 15-16.