By Eric Elliott
Canadas future ski stars had the chance to showcase their skills at Panorama Mountain this past week for the Nor-Am Cup Series and shine they did.
The team arrived at Panorama on December 11th after spending the last week competing at another event in Lake Louise, hoping to make multiple appearances on the podium throughout the week, said coach John Kucera.
That podium appearance began as early as day one for Brodie Seger who finished second in the Mens Super G competition with James Crawford earning the bronze just behind him. Seger would go on to finish second again the following day in the same event before finishing fourth on day three.
Having skied at Panorama numerous times on the Nor-Am tour, Mr. Seger said he was happy with the results he achieved during competition.
Its been cold, but its been a good week I think, he said. I think pretty much everyone on the team has had some strong results over the last couple of weeks so its been pretty positive as a team.
We werent really sure what to expect with the sort of challenging snow conditions a couple weeks ago, but I think were all super impressed with how it turned out, teammate Morgan Megarry continued. This time of year, everyone comes out and no one is really sure of where they are and how they stack up against the field and so to have that and be on home turf is a bit of pressure for sure.
On the ladies side of competition, success took a little bit more time to come for Canada, but it still arrived nonetheless. Stefanie Fleckenstein was able to capture the third place position in the Super G event with Invermere native Amelia Smart finishing in a close fourth place.
Smart would improve her performance later in the week during the ladies alpine combined event where Canada swept the podium led by Smart with Fleckenstein and Ali Nullmeyer completing the trio.
Its been great. We werent sure if the slaloms were going to be on Hay Fever because they didnt have enough snow, but all the volunteers and everyone worked awesome and they got it running, Ms. Smart said of one of her favourite runs on her home hill.
The Panorama Nor-Am Cup marks the last race for the team before the Christmas season, giving them time to spend with their families and relax after a grueling start to the 2016-17 season. Mr. Kucera said this will be a great opportunity for the team to enjoy some time off and not focus on skiing.
Thats the other thing that all our guys have been competing straight through the Lake Louise Nor-Ams so it becomes a bit of a grind and you can see the guys are becoming more fatigued than maybe some of the athletes who just started here in Panorama, he said. For us, we basically look at the rest period as a rest period. Theyve been on snow for a month and a half or two months now, so they get a week off to just relax and do what they want to do.
After that, the team will prepare for the remainder of the Nor-Am season before they travel to Europe to compete in the Europa Cup. After already having competed once in that level of competition Ms. Smart said she is excited for another opportunity overseas.
Its exciting to be racing there, she said. I think thats pretty a big race for us because its definitely a different calibre of racing than the Nor-Am circuit just because theres so many more racers in Europe so its just a higher level.