Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup continues in Blue Mountain

After two exciting races last weekend at Idre Fjall (SWE), the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup tour hits the slopes of Canada’s Blue Mountain resort this Saturday, where the best ski cross athletes in the world will compete in the sixth competition of 2018/19, before everyone’s turns their eyes to the Utah 2019 FIS Snowboard, Freestyle and Freeski World Championships in February.

The competition venue at Blue Mountain is a difficult, snaking course, with the standout features being the dramatic start, immediately followed by a tricky gliding section that will be a tough test of rhythm, and finished off with a one-of-a-kind final jump that will see the athletes launch over an Audi R8 that has been integrated into the backside of the kicker. Designed and built by White Industries and in good skiing shape, the Blue Mountain course should lend itself to some excellent action come Saturday.

This season will be the fifth time for Blue Mountain to host ski cross World Cup competition, with the first event dating back to 2010.

Currently sitting first in the ladies’ ranking is Fanny Smith (SUI) who has already three victories to her credit this season. Smith is coming straight off a fantastic weekend in Sweden where she snagged two podium finishes, winning the second competition on Sunday in a great fashion.

Smith won the second competition in Idre Fjall easily while racing against a trio of strong Canadians in Brittany Phelan, Kelsey Serwa and Marielle Thompson, and even though the Canadian squad now moves to home soil, they’ll have a tough time stopping Smith this weekend at Blue.

The one with perhaps the best shot of doing so will be Thompson, who won the last two races at Blue Mountain in 2012 and 2017. And while she’s still without a victory this season, she’s been the most consistent of all Smith’s rivals in 2018/19, and she will certainly push her limits in order to grab a top spot in front of the home crowd.

Also count on Sandra Naeslund (SWE), as the 2017/18 Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup winner and the reigning world champion from Sierra Nevada will be looking for redemption after a pair of disappointing performances in Sweden saw her drop into third place in the World Cup standings. Still, Naeslund has three top-3 finishes so far this season and by all means should be considered one of the favourites on Saturday.

In the men’s competition it’s the younger of Midol brother, Bastien who will wear the leader’s bib this weekend as he sits atop the World Cup ranking. He will be looking to grab his first victory of the season, and his consistency so far in the 2018/19 campaign suggest that we can expect a solid performance from the French rider also on Canadian soil.

Going further down the starting list keep an eye on second and third in the ranking Alex Fiva (SUI) and Jean-Frederic Chapuis (FRA), who both took victories in Idre. Fiva won the first race on Saturday with an incredible pass over Bastien Midol in the final meters of the course, while Chapuis dominated the Sunday’s competition with his trademark style that earned him three consecutive crystal globes from 2015 to 2017.

Then also let’s not forget about the Austrian top prospect Daniel Traxler who finished on the podium in both races in Sweden, as well as the Swiss duo of Joos Berry and Jonas Lenherr, both already claiming victories earlier this season.

The 2018 Olympic champion Brady Leman and his Canadian teammate Chris Delbosco will be trying to impress the local crowd and continue their winning streak from Blue Mountain. The Maple Leaf duo went with a 1-2 punch in last two editions of the event in 2012 and 2017 and while the recent campaign hasn’t been quite successful for both riders, racing on home course always gives that extra motivational boost and we’re sure that Leman and Delbosco will do there best to please the Canadian fans.

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