three-way split screen of skiers, all mid-airAP Photo/Darko Bandic, AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti, AP Photo/Jeff Swinger
AP Photo/Darko Bandic, AP Photo/Gabriele Facciotti, AP Photo/Jeff Swinger

5 Team Canada sports to watch this weekend: December 1-3

The World Cup circuits for winter sports are in full swing this weekend, with Team Canada athletes competing around the globe in freestyle skiing, alpine skiing, snowboard, ski jumping, and speed skating — to highlight just a few of the sports in action.

This includes excitement on home snow as Tremblant hosts its first FIS Alpine Ski World Cup in 40 years.

Here’s what you don’t want to miss this weekend:

Freestyle Skiing

Ruka, Finland will play host to the inaugural moguls and aerials events of the FIS World Cup calendar for the 14th consecutive year.

The GOAT, Canadian legend Mikaël Kingsbury, is entering his 15th World Cup season. With his record of 80 World Cup wins and 115 podium finishes, he is rightfully called the “King of Moguls.” Kingsbury has 10 career victories on the bumps in Ruka and will hope to notch an 11th when the moguls are contested on Saturday.

On the aerials side, Marion Thénault is one to watch out for, having made her way on to the World Cup podium four times last season and finishing third in the overall standings for the second time in her young career. The aerials events will take centre stage on Sunday.

READ: Marion Thénault shares updates on her carbon neutrality journey

You can stream the moguls and aerials events on CBC Sports.

Ski Jumping

It’s the opening stop of the snow season for Canada’s ski jumping women this weekend at the FIS World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway. Canada will be represented by Alexandria Loutitt, Abigail Strate, Natalie Eilers and Nicole Maurer.

At 19, Loutitt had a banner year last year, with the crowning achievement of becoming Canada’s first ever world champion in ski jumping. She was also the first Canadian woman to achieve a World Cup victory in ski jumping when she topped the podium in Zao, Japan. She followed this up by becoming the first Canadian woman to win a world junior ski jumping title.

READ: A story of kindness: Alexandria Loutitt

Strate also broke through last season for her first World Cup podium, taking bronze on the large hill in Hinterzarten, Germany. This weekend will feature a normal hill event on Saturday and a large hill event on Sunday.

Alpine Skiing

This weekend marks the return of the FIS Alpine Ski World Cup circuit to Tremblant after four decades. There will be two women’s giant slalom events, the first on Saturday and the second on Sunday.

Valérie Grenier, who claimed two podium finishes on the circuit last season, will be looking to make history on the same mountain on which she was first introduced to alpine skiing as a child. The 27-year-old, who finished fifth last weekend in the giant slalom in Killington, Vermont, has finished in the top seven in her last four races.

Britt Richardson, 22nd in the giant slalom in Killington, will also be in the starting gate for the two races on Canadian soil.

Another Alpine Ski World Cup is taking place in Beaver Creek, Colorado, where three men’s speed events are taking place: a downhill race on Friday, another on Saturday, and a super-G race on Sunday.

After the cancellation of the first men’s downhill of the season in Zermatt-Cervinia on November 12, the Canadian speed specialists are looking for their first result of 2023-24. Jack Crawford, who had three World Cup podium finishes last season — including one at Beaver Creek — as well as winning the world title in the super-G, and Cameron Alexander, bronze medallist in the downhill at those same world championships, will be ones to watch.

But also keep an eye on Jeffrey Read and Brodie Seger. Broderick Thompson suffered an injury during a training run at Beaver Creek and will not compete.

All of the alpine skiing races are streamable on CBC Sports.

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

Speed Skating

The third ISU World Cup Speed Skating of the season is taking place this weekend. After two stops within Asia, the circuit now moves to Europe, in Stavanger, Norway.

Ivanie Blondin has already made a fine start to defending her overall World Cup title in the women’s mass start, winning a gold and a silver medal in the process. She will be at the start of her favourite event on Friday, as will Valérie Maltais, bronze medallist at the World Cup in Beijing a fortnight ago.

The usual third member of the women’s team pursuit, Isabelle Weidemann, has decided not to take part in the World Cups in December to better prepare for the ISU World Speed Skating Single Distances Championships which will be held in Calgary in February.

Laurent Dubreuil, who reached his first World Cup podium this season when he won a silver medal in the men’s 500m in the Chinese capital, will start the 1000m on Friday and the 500m on Saturday.

In the long distance events, the men’s 10,000m will be held in Stavanger. Fourth in the two World Cup 5000m events this season, Ted-Jan Bloemen will be aiming for his first podium finish in 2023-24.

On Sunday, Canada will be in contention for the podium in the two team sprint events, which are not part of the Olympic programs.

Snowboard Cross

The FIS Snowboard Cross World Cup season will get underway this weekend in France’s Les Deux Alpes. It is the first of eight stops this season, which will close out on Canadian soil at Mont-Ste-Anne in late March.

Canada’s snowboard cross team has dealt with some injuries on the women’s side. Meryeta O’Dine, Beijing 2022 bronze medallist in both the individual and team events, will be making a comeback after missing all of last season due to a fractured tibia. Fellow Beijing Olympian Audrey McManiman is on the mend from a torn ACL.

On the men’s side, Eliot Grondin, who snagged both a silver in the individual event and bronze with O’Dine at Beijing 2022, is one to watch. Grondin had three World Cup podium finishes last season and finished third in the overall standings. He is joined by fellow Olympian Liam Moffatt, as well as Evan Bichon.