It was a big day for the Canadian ski cross team on Saturday in Bakuriani, Georgia, as Jared Schmidt won his first World Cup medal – a bronze – while teammate Reece Howden clinched the men’s overall title.
“Today was awesome, it started yesterday we got a bunch of guys into heats, and getting through that first round seemed solid,” Schmidt, from Ottawa, said in a release. “Having [teammate] Brady [Leman] with me all the way through, until he, unfortunately, crashed in the big finals. My first top-16, first podium, I am super stoked right now.”
Howden, of Cultus Lake, B.C., finished 19th but was able to clinch the overall men’s title with two races to go in the season.
“I’m super happy, it’s weird having a not-great day but getting some great news,” Howden said.
Reigning Olympic gold medallist Leman, from Calgary, crashed out in the big final, and the extent of his injuries weren’t immediately known.
Florian Wilmsmann of Germany won gold, while Sweden’s David Mobaerg took silver.
On the women’s side, Marielle Thompson, of Whistler, B.C., has had five World Cup podiums this season, but was unable to make a sixth trip as she finished fourth in Saturday’s big final.
“My day was pretty good, I had some good skiing, managed to hold off some passes at the bottom,” Thompson said. “I was happy with my skiing in the big final despite my fourth place and now I’m looking forward to our first-time team event tomorrow.”
Switzerland’s Fanny Smith won the women’s big final, ahead of Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund and Marielle Berger Sabbatel of France.
Fellow Canadian Courtney Hoffos finished sixth.