December OST Update
Corey McConville (Devils Glen) and Jake Gougeon (Georgian Peaks) at Panorama Nor Am
After an extensive prep period of time in the gym, time on snow, time hoping for snow, and general hard work from the entire team, December brings with it the start of the competition season for the Ontario Ski Team. A time to bring together all of your training, efforts, and dedication and measure yourself against strong national and international competition. Our OST athletes have responded to this challenge with a string of successful and career-best results to start the season.
After beginning the season together with slalom races in Norquay, (where the team scored a U18 win for Hunter Watson and a U18 podium for Zach Mayne) the team divided its efforts with a group staying in the west to compete in the first block of Nor Am events in Lake Louise and Panorama, and another group returning to the east to compete at the first races of the Super Series in Quebec.
Nor Ams kicked off in the west with downhill at Lake Louise. Athletes battled brutally cold temperatures as they raced a shortened version of the World Cup track. On paper the results were not substantial, but the OST athletes showed impressive mental strength as they attacked the course with limited speed experience and limited time on the track. Shifting to Panorama for Super-G and tech, the guys had their first taste of Nor Am success. OST member Jake Gougeon (Georgian Peaks/Burke Mountain Academy) lead the way with a 12th and 13th place finish in each of the GS races, respectively, and stood on the U21 podium in the second race. With these results, Jake scored the first Nor Am GS points of his career and now sits in the first seed in GS Nor Am standings. Both Henry Luel (Georgian Peaks/National Ski Academy) and Corey McConville (Devil’s Glen) qualified for second runs in a Nor Am for the first time their careers in the slaloms.
In the east, the team exhibited their slalom prowess at the first slalom races of the Super Series at Val St. Come. Hunter Watson (Camp Fortune) took home the first FIS win of his career on the opening day of completion and the second FIS podium of career the follow day. Adding to the team’s podium appearances, Griffin Copp finished 3rd in the first race to score his first FIS podium result, and Zach Mayne taking 3rd on the U18 podium in the second race.
A young women’s team has shown great determination as they looked to score the first FIS points of their respective careers. A majority of the team has worked their way into the slalom rankings with solid results at Norquay and Val St. Come against tough competition. After battling back from an injury last season, Camille Vibert (Georgian Peaks) scored the first top-10 of her career with an 8th in Val St. Come.
With podium success still fresh in their minds and two SL and two GS races on the schedule before returning to Ontario, the OST athletes hope to continue their strong start to the season. Don’t forget to come out and cheer on the OST as they take to the slopes of Craigleith for the NZ Cup on December 29.
Cam McKenzie, OST Mens Head Coach