Brady Leman goes over a jump on a ski cross coursePhoto by Darren Calabrese/COC
Photo by Darren Calabrese/COC

Brady Leman wins gold in the final race of his career, Thompson and Phelan reach the podium

In the last race of his ski cross career, Brady Leman finishes on the top step of the podium at the FIS World Cup Finals. Marielle Thompson and Brittany Phelan share the podium in the women’s final with silver and bronze, respectfully.

On home snow at Craigleith in Collingwood, Ontario, Leman had a great day of competition, finishing first in his round of 16 and semifinal heats before emerging victorious in the grand final.

The four skiers remained neck and neck at the start of the grand final. At the first corner, a collision between the German Florian Wilmsmann and the Youri Duplessis Kergomard of France paved the way for Leman who took the lead for good. Duplessis Kergomard finished second, followed by Swiss Joos Berry.

With his victory on Friday, Reece Howden secured the discipline’s Crystal Globe for the 2022-23 season. He was eliminated in the quarterfinals on Saturday. Kristofor Mahler was in the small final and he finished seventh overall.

On the women’s side, Marielle Thompson returned to the podium for a second consecutive day, improving her result by one position to secure the silver medal. She was joined on the podium by teammate Brittany Phelan who won the bronze medal.

Marielle Berger Sabbatel of France won the gold medal. Switzerland’s Fanny Smith, was in the race lead until experiencing a fall halfway through the final to end up at the foot of the podium.

With this result, Thompson has 59 career World Cup podiums and finishes in third place overall for the season. Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund takes the Crystal Globe after winning the first nine races of the season. For Phelan, this is her 12th career World Cup podium.

Tiana Gairns and Courtney Hoffos qualified for the small final, finishing 6th and 7th overall respectively.

Howden wins gold, Hoffos & Thompson share podium at ski cross World Cup on home snow

The first day of racing at the FIS World Cup Finals for ski cross saw three Canadians stand on the podium on home snow.

Reece Howden was victorious in the men’s event held at Craigleith in Collingwood, Ontario. Courtney Hoffos and Marielle Thompson finished second and third, respectively, in the women’s event.

Howden had won his way into the men’s Big Final, finishing first in his heats in each of the 1/8th finals, quarterfinals, and semifinals. Powering out of the start gate in the Big Final, he took a lead that he never relinquished all the way to the finish line. Germany’s Florian Wilmsmann took the silver ahead of France’s Youri Duplessis Kergomard.

“It feels amazing, this is the biggest win of my season. This is what I needed if I wanted to take the overall (title). I needed to do something special,” Howden said immediately after his race, admitting that he hadn’t been that nervous in a long while. He made sure to belt out O Canada in front of the home fans in attendance, which included his family.

This was Howden’s third victory and seventh podium finish of the season. With just one more race to go on Saturday, he sits atop the men’s ski cross World Cup standings and cannot be caught. Howden previously won a Crystal Globe during the 2020-21 season.

Brady Leman, who has announced that he will be retiring after this weekend, finished fourth in the Small Final for eighth place overall.

In the women’s Big Final, it was Swiss star Fanny Smith who got the jump out of the gate. That left the three Canadians who had advanced with her — Hoffos, Thompson, and Hannah Schmidt — to chase Smith down the course. They were unable to catch her as Smith earned her second straight victory.

Hoffos’ second-place finish is her best World Cup result since December 2019 when she also finished second in Val Thorens, France. It is her fifth career World Cup podium, but her first in two years, since she finished third in Reiteralm, Austria in February 2021.

Thompson reached a World Cup podium for the 58th time in her career. Six of those podium finishes happened this season as she has placed in the top three in more than half of the races. She sits third in the overall World Cup standings. Swede Sandra Naeslund has locked up the Crystal Globe after winning the first nine races of the season.

The World Cup ski cross season will conclude with another set of races on Saturday afternoon.