Marielle Thompson kept her streak of top-five finishes going at Kreischberg, Austria, on Saturday (Jan. 25), earning a bronze medal from the last World Cup ski cross race before the Olympics.
The Whistler skier placed third behind winner Ophelie David of France and runner-up Fanny Smith of Switzerland in the final. Thompson, 21, now has four podium finishes this season and retains her lead in the womenís overall standings heading into the Olympic break. There are four World Cup races left on the schedule, all in Europe in March.
B.C.ís Georgia Simmerling finished sixth on Saturday for the next-best Canadian result.
Whistlerís Dave Duncan qualified in fifth position for the menís race but was eliminated in the first round of heats, leaving him 25th. Swedenís Victor Oehling Norberg moved ahead of Duncan in the World Cup standings, but it remains a tight battle at the top, as just three points separate Duncan, Norberg and Austriaís Andreas Matt.
Louis-Pierre Helie earned the top Canadian finish in the menís race Saturday, placing 19th.
Canadaís Olympic ski cross team was named Monday (Jan. 27), with Thompson, Simmerling and Kelsey Serwa named to the womenís squad, and Duncan, Chris Del Bosco and Brady Leman selected to the menís crew.
ROZ G BACK ON X GAMES PODIUM
Roz Groenewoud of the Whistler-based national halfpipe ski team hit the Winter X Games podium on Friday (Jan. 24) in Aspen, Colo., while making her return from bi-lateral knee surgery.
Groenewoud captured a silver medal ó her fifth consecutive podium finish at the X Games ó with her first-run score of 85.66. U.S. skier Maddie Bowman (88.66) took gold and Franceís Marie Martinod (82.33) earned bronze.
In the menís event, Mike Riddle place fourth in Fridayís menís final. He posted two consistent runs and was sitting third until American teen Alex Ferreira edged him for the last podium spot on the third and final run. U.S. skier David Wise grabbed gold and Franceís Kevin Rolland earned silver.
Whistlerís Justin Dorey also reached the menís final and placed eighth. Fellow local Simon díArtois, who was making his X Games debut, placed 14th in the elimination round.
Snowboarder X made its return to the X Games after a one-year absence and Whistlerís Carle Brenneman rode to a fifth-place finish in Fridayís womenís final. MaŽlle Ricker was eliminated in the semifinals but the local rider won the small final handily to finish seventh overall.
Yuki Tsubota was the other local involved in X Games competition this weekend, placing eighth in the womenís slopestyle final held Sunday (Jan. 26).
BATHGATE BROTHERS HIT TOP FIVE
Whistler twins Jackson and Cooper Bathgate opened up their competitive freeskiing seasons with top-five finishes earlier this month at Red Mountain.
Jackson was fourth and Cooper finished fifth against a field of 50 skiers in the menís 15 to 18 age group of the Canadian Open Freeskiing Championship held Jan. 18.
Fellow local skiers Liam Peiffer (eighth), Mitchell Long (10th), Thomas Rozsypalek (15th), Reid Stanger (23rd) and Conrad Murdoch (24th) also reached the age groupís final to post solid finishes. In the womenís 15 to 18 competition, local skier Carlene Loughlin finished sixth.
The skiers will be back in action at home for the GoPro Junior Freeski Challenge going Feb. 7 to 10 on Blackcomb.
OUGHTRED, TANAKA TOP KVRS
More than 65 skiers were treated to a sunny day of racing on Thursday (Jan. 23) when the Kokanee Valley Race Series resumed with a GS on the Lower Franzís run.
Ryan Oughtred and Sanae Tanaka respectively set the fastest menís and womenís two-run combined times on Thursday, with Oughtred topping the menís 30 to 39 age group and Tanaka winning the womenís 50 to 59.
Other menís group winners from Thursday were Marian Treger (19 to 29), Michael Noc (40 to 49), Phil Beauregard (50 to 59), Peter Lyall (60 to 69), Lloyd Henderson (70 to 79), Michael Girard (snowboard) and Hugh Berwick (telemark). Womenís category winners included Grace Oaks (70-plus), Barbara Walker (60 to 69), Liz Thompson (40 to 49), Corrine Stoltz (30 to 39) and Frederique de Muszka (19 to 29).
The next race of the series is scheduled for Feb. 6.