Photos by Jeepa/Matic Klancic
Canada's Ski Cross Team athletes are not participating in the FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Alleghe, Italy, this weekend. With gold medals from Marielle Thompson and Rhys Howden, as well as a silver from Brittany Phelan, Canada has four medals in as many competitions as well as several top-10 finishes.
A day after India Sherritt broke through to win her first World Cup gold, there were two familiar faces on the podium on Saturday.
In a grand final featuring 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 of the cup standings, finished fourth. Frenchwoman Marielle Berger Sabatiel took third place.
With the win, Thompson now sits just three points behind Schmidt in the Cup standings. Thanks to Sherritt's impressive outing this weekend, she is now ranked 10th, making it five Canadians in the top 10 overall.
“It's a great day for Canada with Rhys and I on top of the podium, and sharing it with Brett, my teammate, is great,” Thompson said.
Sherritt, who stunned the field with a win on Friday, won the small final to finish fifth.
On the men's side, after finishing fifth on Friday, Rhys Howden's time of 53.43 on Saturday allowed him to beat German Florian Wilmsmann to get the gold medal. Austrian Johannes Ojeski finished third.
“I'm excited to be at the top again and excited to see the good results coming from the team,” Howden said.
Howden has now won two golds in the calendar year, with his previous medal coming on the snow at his home in Nakiska, British Columbia, in January. He now occupies first place in the World Cup standings after leapfrogging compatriot Jared Schmidt on Friday.
India Sherritt won the women's race at the FIS Ski Cross World Cup in Alleghe, Italy on Friday. This is the 27-year-old's first win in a World Cup.
In the Grand Final, Cheret took the lead at the top of the track and built it up to be able to withstand an attack from Swiss Saskia Luck at the bottom. Cheret finished the race by 0.16 of a second ahead of the Swiss skier, while another Swiss competitor, Talina Gantenbein, came in third.
“I don't really know how I feel right now, I just feel so proud and grateful,” Sherritt said. “It's been four years since I've been on the podium and it's been a tough ride but I know I've always been there. Just today I was able to put it all together. I knew I was strong at the start and I kept that up all the way. Crazy!”
Sherritt, an Olympian who competed in the 2018 PyeongChang Games, has twice been on the podium in World Cup races. She finished third in January 2018, just before her Olympic debut, while she finished third in December 2019.
The Canadians who are more accustomed to podium finishes – Marielle Thompson, Brittany Phelan and Hannah Schmidt – took the top three spots in the small final to finish fifth, sixth and seventh overall, respectively. Schmidt continues to hold first place in the overall women's cross-country skiing World Cup standings while Thompson is third. Only 53 points separate them.
Reece Howden was the top Canadian in the first men's race of the weekend. He won the minor final to finish fifth overall and maintain his lead in the overall World Cup standings. Carson Cook also reached the small final and placed seventh.
The World Cup circuit heads to Bakuriani, Georgia next weekend.