Canmore Para-nordic World Cup Season Kick-off
Para-nordic World Cup season got underway at the Canmore Nordic Centre in the heart of the Canadian Rockies with cross-country and biathlon competitions running December 9-17. Racing on home snow, Canadian teams and their American counterparts put on inspired performances with several athletes notching podiums and showing strong form and confidence heading into this Paralympic season.
Dec. 9 – Classic Sprint
In a sprint final showdown between Canadian and Russian athletes, Emily Young landed her first podium of the season claiming a bronze medal in the women’s Standing Classic Sprint, just ahead of her Canadian teammates Natalie Wilkie in fourth and Brittany Hudak in fifth. First and second place went to Russia’s Ekaterina Rumyantseva and Anna Milenina.
In Sit-ski categories, the U.S.A.’S Andrew Soule took a third-place finish behind Russians Ivan Golubkov and Aleksei Bychenok, while American Oksana Masters ended the day in sixth after being relegated in the final, which gave the victory to Germany’s Andrea Eskau.
Other top Americans on the day were Jacob Adicoff and guide Sawyer Kesselheim, who finished fourth, narrowly missing the podium in men’s Visually Impaired. The U.S.A.’S Daniel Cnossen finished sixth in the men’s Sit-ski competition.
Dec. 10 – Skate Middle Distance
The second day of competition saw the U.S.A. take home two fifthplace finishes in the Visually Impaired category by Mia Zutter and guide Kristina Trygstad-saari in the women’s event and by Adicoff and Kesselheim in the men’s race.
Canadians Young, Wilkie and Hudak repeated their strong opening-day performances, sweeping third through fifth in the women’s Standing 7.5km Freestyle behind Rumyantseva and Milenina. “I went out a little hot in the first lap, but the whole plan was to ‘just go’ from the gun,” said Young. “I knew I had put myself in the top three after the first lap so I just kept fighting.”
On the men’s side, Mark Arendz opened his World Cup season with a fourth-place result in the men’s Standing 10km.
In the women’s Sit-ski, Eskau edged Masters for the win, besting the American by five seconds over 5km. In the men’s 7.5km Sit-ski, the U.S.A.’S Cnossen improved by one place from the sprint, finishing fifth and only 20 seconds shy of the podium.
Dec. 12 – Classic Long Distance
Canada’s Young and the U.S.A.’S Masters earned a pair of silver medals in the Mass Start events rounding out a strong weekend of cross-country competitions for the North American women, as Russian and German rivals held the top step once again. Cnossen was the top American in the men’s 15km Sit-ski race, battling right to the line as he tied Martin Fleig of Germany for fourth.
Dec. 14 – Biathlon Individual
After sitting out the cross-country Mass Start, Canada’s Hudak shot clean at her first biathlon World Cup of the season, earning bronze behind Russia’s Rumyantseva and Milenina. Marking good skiing form and consistent shooting, Masters took a decisive victory for the U.S.A. in the women’s Individual Sit-ski.
Canada’s Arendz scored a silver medal behind Benjamin Daviet of France in the men’s Standing as both shot clean. “I was feeling good enough in the range, but I can push a little more,” said Arendz. “It was a good race, but there’s room for sharpening being the first ParaBiathlon race of the year.”
Dec. 16 – Biathlon Sprint
Masters battled through the women’s Sit-ski Sprint, ousting Marta Zainullina by 7.1 seconds for the win after missing single shots in both shooting sessions. Canadians Young and Hudak finished just outside the podium finishing fourth and fifth respectively in the women’s 6km Standing event.
The men’s Standing Sprint proved to be one of the tightest podium races of the Canmore World Cup as second through fifth were only separated by 11.6 seconds. Even with his sharp shooting, Arendz finished fourth, just off the podium, while Daviet continued his dominance, leading the competition by over a minute.
Other strong performances in the sprint came from Canada’s Colin Cameron, who finished eighth just behind American Cnossen in a very large, competitive men’s Sit-ski Sprint race.
Dec. 17th – Biathlon Pursuit
Young capped off a week of power performances, earning her third bronze medal and fourth podium in the women’s 10km Standing Pursuit. Canada was well represented on the day with Hudak finishing just behind her teammate in fourth and Arendz placing fifth in the 12.5km men’s Standing. Rumyantseva and Daviet both took their third World Cup biathlon wins of the season.
Masters continued to show her strength with decisively fastest skiing in the women’s 10km Sit-ski, completing her sweep of the biathlon events in Canmore. After a consistent week of top-10s in both cross-country and biathlon, the U.S.A.’S Cnossen made his mark with clean shooting and solid skiing to take home silver in the men’s 10km Sit-ski race.
The U.S.A.'S Oksana Masters completing her sweep of the biathlon events at Canmore.
Canada's Emily Young capped off a week of power performances, earning her third bronze medal.
Canada's Mark Arendz shot clean for biathlon silver in the men's Standing.
Team Canada celebrates as successful hosts of the opening round of the Para-nordic World Cup season in Canmore, Alta.
U.S.A.'S Dan Cnossen shot clean for silver in the men's biathlon 10km Sit-ski race.
Canada's Brittany Hudak debuted with clean shooting for biathlon bronze.
American Andrew Soule won men's Sit-ski bronze on the opening day.