Jared Schmidt goes over a jump on a ski cross courseDarren Calabrese/COC
Darren Calabrese/COC

First career World Cup ski cross win for Jared Schmidt, silver for Brittany Phelan in Val Thorens

Jared Schmidt won gold in men’s ski cross while Brittany Phelan took silver in the women’s race at the FIS World Cup stop in Val Thorens, France on Friday.

The men’s big final was a bit of a wild one. Schmidt was in fourth place through the second intermediate, but just after that, France’s Youri Duplessis Kergomard took out Austrian Johannes Rohrweck while making a turn. Duplessis Kergomad went on to cross the finish line first, just ahead of Schmidt who had moved himself into second spot.

But a yellow card was subsequently handed to the Frenchman for his contact with Rohrweck, dropping him to fourth and elevating Schmidt to the top spot on the podium. Sweden’s David Mobaerg ended up with the silver while Rohrweck got the bronze, despite not finishing the race.

“It was a crazy day,” Schmidt said. “We woke up this morning and saw the fresh snow on the ground and we were all kind of wondering what was going to happen, but the course crew did a great job cleaning the course off.

“We ended up having a great race. The cards kind of played into my favour today, I got lucky a few times, but I was always in the right spot, making passes and battling it out and ended up winning. It’s pretty crazy.”

It is Schmidt’s third career World Cup podium. The 26-year-old had previously won a pair of bronzes, one in February 2021 and the second in December 2021. Another Canadian, Reece Howden, finished second in the small final to place sixth overall.

Phelan finished behind only Germany’s Daniela Maier in the women’s big final to claim the silver medal. Frenchwoman Marielle Berger Sabbatel completed the podium. Canada’s Marielle Thompson won the small final to finish fifth overall while Jared’s sister Hannah Schmidt finished eighth.

Phelan, 32, is no stranger to World Cup podiums with a total of 13 on the circuit, despite a career marked by significant injuries. She missed all of the 2022-23 season, with the exception of the very last stop on Canadian snow in Craigleith, Ontario where she won a bronze medal. She finished fourth in Thursday’s season opener, which she managed to be ready to race after undergoing another knee surgery at the start of the fall.

“It was a battle out there. Super happy with the day and my approach and making some sweet passes,” said Phelan. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming here, I just wanted to focus on my skiing. Body’s been feeling good, knees are feeling good and everything so I just felt free to just rely on experience and just let the skis take me down the hill — total intuition.”

Canada’s ski cross contingent will now head to Arosa, Switzerland for the next World Cup stop. Qualification runs are scheduled for Monday, followed by the finals on Tuesday.