After winning a bronze medal at Copper Mountain in the season opener, Brendan Mackay skied brilliantly on his home turf on Thursday, taking top honours at the Calgary World Cup. His compatriots Simon D’Artois and Rachael Karker also made their marks, earning bronze medals at the second event of the competitive season.
With Alberta currently in the grips of a cold snap, Mackay set the tone early, taking the lead in the first heat of the final, which took place under the floodlights.
Alex Ferreira of the USA pulled ahead on his second run, but his lead was short-lived. Mackay quickly bested him with a score of 95.20 points.
“In the final, I felt confident early on, and was able to find my feet quickly. I’m really happy!” explained Mackay.
To put the icing on the cake, Mackay scored a whopping 97 points on his final run and won his first career World Cup in his hometown.
“I tried to be consistent and I’m glad to have done well on all three of my runs. It feels really special to have my first win at home,” he added.
Simon D’Artois of Whistler, BC, also wrapped up the event in fine form. He scored 94.4 points to take the third spot on the podium. The reigning world runner-up was edged out of second place by Ferreira, who earned 94.8 points.
“It’s incredible! It was hard today with the cold weather, so I’m just really glad to have landed my three runs and made it back onto the podium,” stated D’Artois, after earning his sixth career medal on the circuit. “The weather conditions were a real challenge, so I wanted to just enjoy the final and ski the best I could,” he added.
Noah Bowman, also of Calgary, put on a good performance in the final and missed the podium by only 4.2 points.
In the qualifiers, Dylan Marineau of Calgary finished 13th, while Peter Verheyde of Bragg Creek, AB, placed 16th. Ethan Fernandes and Steven Kahnert finished 23rd and 32nd, respectively.
On the women’s side, three Canadian women advanced to the final on Thursday. Rachael Karker, who earned a silver medal at the first World Cup of the 2021-2022 season, continued her winning streak with a bronze medal in Calgary.
After suffering a fall on the Dew Tour, Karker followed the concussion protocol, which only came to an end the day before the event. The timing of her return to competition could therefore not have been more perfect.
“It was a challenging evening, especially with the cold weather, but I’m really happy with the way I skied,” she said.
Despite being locked out of the top three spots after two runs on Thursday, the Guelph native didn’t give up. Her last run was her best, and she scored 90.2 points to move up to a podium spot.
“I knew I had to give it my all on my last run. I’m super motivated. This is only the beginning, and I’m looking forward to my next challenge.”
Eileen Gu of China won with 96.8 points, followed by Hanna Faulhaber of the USA, with 92.8 points.
Amy Fraser and Cassie Sharpe, both of Calgary, placed 6th and 7th, respectively.
Dillan Glennie (Vancouver, BC) and Elena Gaskell (Vernon, BC) saw their day come to an end in the qualification round, finishing 16th and 26th.
The athletes will be back in action in Calgary on Saturday in a second halfpipe event.