2023-24 Team Canada Winter Preview: Bobsleigh, Skeleton, Luge 

The time is here for Canada’s top sliding athletes to hit ice tracks across North America and Europe.

While the IBSF World Championships in Winterberg, Germany and the FIL World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, take the crown for the most important races of the season for bobsleigh, skeleton, and luge, Canadian athletes have chances to win medals on a near-weekly basis. 

With some iconic athletes retiring and newer arrivals set to take on the best in the world, this lookahead will get you prepared for the 2023-24 season in the sliding sports. 


World Championships

  • IBSF World Championships – February 23 – March 3 – Winterberg, Germany

Who to Watch

Canadian bobsleigh and skeleton athletes won’t have an opportunity to slide at home during this World Cup season. However, they will get close to the border with the season finale taking place March 21-23 in Lake Placid, New York. 

Leading the charge is pilot Cynthia Appiah, who finished third in last season’s overall World Cup standings for the women’s monobob on the strength on five podium finishes.

Appiah has spent the offseason getting stronger while keeping her competitive edge sharp as she returned to shot put competition at the national level, a sport she starred in at the Canadian university level before transitioning to bobsleigh.

The 33-year-old won shot put bronze at the Canadian Track and Field Championships in Langley, B.C., finishing behind world championship silver medallist Sarah Mitton. Returning to the icy tracks brings Appiah back into contention for gold. 

Appiah did not formally participate in the national team selection races in early November in Whistler. She did forerun the two-woman event with brakewoman Leah Walkeden, with whom she competed in several World Cup races last season. They will form Team Appiah for the start of this World Cup season.

Cynthia Appiah and Bianca Ribi wear silve and gold medals while standing in front of an IBSF World Cup sign
Canada’s Cynthia Appiah, left, of Toronto, and Bianca Ribi, of Calgary, Alta., celebrate after they finished in second and first-place respectively during the women’s monobob competition at the IBSF Bobsleigh World Cup event, in Whistler, B.C., on Friday, November 25, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

The leading pilot in the two-woman event at the selection races was Bianca Ribi, who is teamed with another returning brakewoman from last season’s World Cup squad, Niamh Haughey.  

Ribi is looking to break onto the two-woman podium on the World Cup circuit, having finished in the top five three times last season, highlighted by a fourth place in Lake Placid where she was pushed by Haughey. In monobob, Ribi will aim to find the form that saw her win in Whistler to kick off last season. 

Returning to the national team is two-time Olympian Melissa Lotholz, who took last season away from sliding to finish her bachelor’s degree. After enjoying life as a non-athlete for a bit, she decided she wasn’t done with bobsleigh. She and brakewoman Alexandra Klein will start the season on the North American Cup circuit. The goal is for all three of the women’s sleds to qualify for the 2024 World Championships.

On the men’s side, it’s an era of change and rebuilding. Pilot Taylor Austin, who made his Olympic debut at Beijing 2022, is expected to split the season competing on both the North American Cup and World Cup circuits, with the goal of qualifying for the 2024 World Championships. He drove his four-man sled to bronze at last year’s World Cup opener in Whistler for his first career World Cup medal. After that success on a very familiar track, he did not get back into the top-five for the rest of the season. His crew will include Anthony Couturier-Lagacé, Shane Ohrt, and DeVaughn McEwan.

Patrick Norton is the other Canadian men’s pilot hoping to qualify for the 2024 World Championships. He will compete primarily on the North American Cup circuit. His crew includes a couple of athletes who have come to bobsleigh from the Canadian Football League — Shaquille Murray-Lawrence and Keaton Bruggling — along with Olympian Mike Evelyn, Davidson de Souza, and Chris Ashley.

Retirement Rundown

After putting off knee surgery to not disrupt his journey towards Beijing 2022, veteran bobsleigh pilot Christopher Spring announced his retirement in September, drawing close a career that saw him win nine World Cup medals and make four Olympic appearances.


World Championships 

  • IBSF World Championships – February 23 – March 3 – Winterberg, Germany

Who to Watch

After finishing third in the overall World Cup standings for 2022-23, two-time Olympian Mirela Rahneva headlines the Canadian skeleton squad in 2023-24 as the 35-year-old looks to maintain her elite level. 

Rahneva stood on World Cup podiums twice last season, winning a race in Park City, Utah and finishing with a silver medal in Winterberg, Germany — the world championship track for 2024. 

At the 2023 World Championships, Rahneva slid to bronze, her first world championship medal. She earned her 14th career World Cup medal at the opening event of the 2023-24 season in Yanqing, China – sliding to bronze on the track used for Beijing 2022.

Veteran teammate and two-time Olympian Jane Channell has also shown that she can reach World Cup podiums. At 35, she has four career World Cup medals and finished eighth in last year’s overall standings.

They were joined in Yanqing by 19-year-old Hallie Clarke, who returned to the Canadian national team program after representing the United States for a season. Clarke began her international career in 2019 wearing Canadian colours and competed at the 2020 Winter Youth Olympic Games before making her World Cup debut for the U.S. in 2022. She won two World Cup medals last year and won gold in the U20 division at the 2023 Junior World Championships.

The Canadian men’s skeleton team hasn’t had that same level of success in recent years. Last season’s top performer was Blake Enzie, who earned a career-best sixth place finish in Whistler during his first full World Cup campaign. He started off 2023-24 with back-to-back wins in North American Cup races in Lake Placid in late November.

Set to make his World Cup debut is Jordan Rwiyamilira. The 33-year-old has been competing on the North American Cup circuit since 2019.


Competitions in Canada 

  • FIL World Cup – December 15-16 – Whistler, BC

World Championships 

  • FIL Luge World Championships – January 27-28 – Altenberg, Germany

Who to Watch

Canada’s senior national team luge athletes are young but quickly gaining experience on the world stage. At 21-years-old Trinity Ellis is the established veteran of the group, having competed at her first senior world championships in 2019 before making her Olympic debut at Beijing 2022.

While Ellis finished 25th in the overall World Cup women’s singles ranking last season, she consistently posted strong results, highlighted by a 15th-place finish in Altenberg.

Another athlete who could claim veteran status is 24-year-old Brooke Apshkrum. A gold medallist at the 2016 Winter Youth Olympic Games, she competed for a few more years – including making her Olympic debut at PyeongChang 2018 – before stepping away from the sport. After a two-year absence, she decided to make a return.

Apshkrum will be competing in women’s singles, as will another Youth Olympian, Caitlin Nash. She won silver in women’s doubles at Lausanne 2020, but her partner Natalie Corless announced her retirement in September to pursue a degree in marine biology. Carolyn Maxwell rounds out the women’s singles national team squad.  

In men’s luge, Devin Wardrope and Cole Zajanski are back as a doubles sled as they take on their third World Cup season at 21 and 22 years old, respectively. They’re looking to build on their strongest campaign so far, which saw them finish fourth at the Whistler World Cup in December 2022. They were also fourth in the U23 division at the 2023 FIL World Championships.

The Canadian continent is completed by men’s singles racer Dylan Morse, who will turn 19 at the end of December. He has yet to compete in a senior World Cup event but was at the 2023 World Championships where he was part of the team relay with Ellis and Wardrope & Zajanski.  

The FIL World Cup luge season begins on December 8 in Lake Placid before hitting Whistler for the second stop of the tour on December 15.