GEPA pictures/ Matic Klansek
GEPA pictures/ Matic Klansek

Ski cross: Canadians cap dominant weekend with three more medals

Team Canada ski cross athletes aren’t sharing the spotlight at the FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Alleghe, Italy this weekend. With gold medals from Marielle Thompson and Reece Howden, plus a silver from Brittany Phelan, Canada earned four medals in as many competitions as well as multiple Top 10 finishes.

A day after India Sherret broke through to capture her first World Cup gold, it was two familiar faces atop the podium on Saturday.

In a big final that featured three Canadians out of four qualifiers, it was Thompson who raced to the best time, with Phelan right behind her. Hannah Schmidt, the overall leader in the Cup standings, finished fourth. France’s Marielle Berger Sabbatel finished third.

With the win, Thompson now sits just three points behind Schimdt in the Cup standings. With Sherret’s impressive outing this weekend, she now sits in 10th, making it an even five Canadians in the overall Top 10.

“It’s a great day for Canada with both Reece and I on top of the podium, and to share it with Brit, my team-mate, is awesome,” said Thompson.

Sherret, who surprised the field with a win on Friday, won the small final to finish in fifth place.

On the men’s side, after finishing fifth on Friday, Reece Howden’s time of 53.43 on Saturday allowed him to edge out Florian Wilmsmann of Germany for gold. Johannes Aujesky of Austria finished third.

“I’m just stoked to be on top again and stoked to see the good results coming from the team,” said Howden.

Howden has now won two golds in the calendar year with his previous one coming on home snow in Nakiska B.C. in January. He now sits in first place in the World Cup standings after leapfrogging countrymate Jared Schmidt on Friday.

On Friday, India Sherret won the women’s race at the FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Alleghe, Italy on Friday. It is the first career World Cup victory for the 27-year-old.

In the big final, Sherret took the lead at the top of the track and built it up to be able to resist a charge from Switzerland’s Saskja Lack at the bottom. Sherret finished 0.16 of a second ahead of the Swiss skier, with another Swiss racer, Talina Gantenbein, coming in for third place.

“I don’t even really know what I’m feeling right now, I feel so proud and so thankful,” said Sherret. “It’s been four years since I’ve been on a podium and it’s been a rough go but I know that I’ve always had it in there. I really just today was able to put it all together. I knew I was strong in the start and just held it the whole way down. Crazy!”

An Olympian who competed at PyeongChang 2018, Sherret had two previous podium finishes in World Cup races. One third place finish came in January 2018, just ahead of her Olympic debut, while the other was in December 2019.

Canadians who have been more accustomed to being on the podium — Marielle Thompson, Brittany Phelan, and Hannah Schmidt — took the first three places in the small final to finish fifth, sixth, and seventh overall, respectively. Schmidt continues to rank first in the overall World Cup standings for women’s ski cross while Thompson is third. They are separated by just 53 points.

Reece Howden was the top Canadian in the first men’s race of the weekend. He won the small final to finish fifth overall and hold his lead in the overall World Cup standings. Carson Cook was also in the small final and finished seventh.

The World Cup circuit heads to Bakuriani, Georgia next weekend.