Hello. It’s been a while! I have just arrived back from a camp in Sunshine Village in Alberta where we were doing a bit of year-end training to finish off the season. I drove out there from Whistler with a few audiobooks and the Taylor Swift album to keep me entertained. Side note: Tina Fey’s book “Bossypants” is worth a read or listen as I did!
Season Highlights for me:
It was a tough season to say the least. I made mistakes that kept me out of the final races several times, but overcame my issues mid season in Sochi, Russia. I went into Russia open-minded and when the weather turned sour I was unfazed. The course was really fun and one of the best we saw the whole season. Big jumps and new and exciting features made everyone come down with a smile on their face. I finished second in Sochi to Kelsey (my teammate) and on the men’s side Chris Del Bosco and Tristan Tafel both placed well with second and fifth respectively. It was a great feeling knowing that I could nail the course with less than a year to the Olympic Winter Games.
Above photo: Max & Margrit Meier, my sponsors for whom I’m very thankful for PI Financial in Nakiska, Alberta.
After Russia we went to Harrachov, Czech Republic where there were some challenges with the course, but in the end it was the weather that did the race in. Prior to World Championships in Voss, Norway the Canadian team went to Mittenwald, Germany for a training/racing camp. The course was small, but had a big field including many World Cup athletes. I got my confidence back here with two wins. I was feeling confident and happy with my skiing going into World Championships which is exactly where I was hoping to be.
Above Photo: Wandering around the mountain village of Rosa Khutor, Russia and the Olympic Rings in Sochi.
At World Championships the weather was amazing which was a relief since the World Cup ski cross circuit has had many challenges in that department this season. I enjoyed the course; there were decent-sized jumps, fun bank turns, and speedy roller sections. The opinions on the course varied as they do at most stops, but I continue to say I liked it although the lack of passing opportunities proved to be a challenge. On the race day I was feeling pretty confident after two awesome training days. I qualified well coming fourth which was a nice change from the beginning of the season proving to myself that I am still one of the top athletes in the sport. During the race I improved on my starts and stayed strong on my skis in each round. Prior to the final I had a moment in the start gate and thought of my late teammate Nik who passed away a year ago to the date of this race. I realized I had to calm myself down and not get caught up in the emotions of it all. The finals went well and I came home with a silver medal. I was close to Fanny Smith (who won) the entirety of the finals, but couldn’t quite make the pass to capture the win.
Below: A little collage my proud brother Broderick posted on Instagram (@BrodThompson).
Above Photo: Right after receiving our medals at World Championships. Fanny Smith (far right) and Ophelie David (middle).
After Voss the tour moved along to Are, Sweden. Having only been to one mountain in Sweden (Branas) it was nice to go somewhere new. The course that was built for us was not super challenging, but the jumps and interesting start features proved to be fun. On the first day of races I made it to the semi finals and had a ski pop off as I landed off a jump (I was in second at that point) which sent me into the small finals. In the small finals I led the whole way and came fifth! On day two of racing I was determined to make it into the final and made sure my bindings weren’t going to fail me. I finished in second and won the two day prize as I was the best overall finisher over the two races. I won a pretty cool watch and a BIG cheque!
Going into World Cup finals in Sierra Nevada I was on a serious streak and I my confidence was high. The course was one of the best we had seen all year with HUGE jumps and fast speeds. I was having a lot of fun every run down the course. Since Sierra Nevada is high in the mountains and above tree line the weather is very unpredictable and we were playing a waiting game for the morning of the race day. The fog rolled in and nothing was getting rid of it, so our last race of the year was cancelled. Thanks to Audi we did have a fun party to put a cap on the year and enjoy the last moments with our friends/competitors.
Since I am the only U21 athlete on the Canadian Team I made my way to Italy to the World Junior Championships right after Sierra Nevada. I met the Swiss coach Adi in Zurich and he and I made a road trip to Valmalenco, Italy. In Italy I met Drew and Stanley with the joint BC/Alberta junior ski cross team and joined them at the accommodation. The course in Valmalenco was fun with a pretty strong field for a Junior race. We had two days of training to get the course and features dialled and I was feeling confident on the race day. In qualifying I was really happy with my run as I had no major mistakes. I was 1st! During the race I made it through my first two heats with the other girls hot on my tails. When the fog rolled in I was optimistic that we would finish the race, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case. The race was concluded based on the first two rounds of competition in combination with qualifying times. Since I did so well in qualifying I became the Junior World Champion!!
That’s my season. Big thank you for this season to my sponsors: PI Financial, Stoeckli, Uvex, Dalbello, and Brian at Top Shelf in Whistler (for the relentless hours spent fiddling with my boots)! Thank you to Audi for providing me with my current car. I love it!
If you have made it this far… Thanks for reading and I hope you continue to follow me. I will try to be more committed to my blog in the future.
For current updates check out Twitter: @BigAirMar or Facebook: Marielle Thompson Fan Page