Canada picks up 5 super-G medals at Para alpine skiing season opener

·3 min read
Canada's Mollie Jepsen earned two bronze medals in super-G at a Para alpine skiing World Cup event on Tuesday in Steinach am Brenner, Austria. (Paul Hanna/Reuters/File - image credit)
Canada's Mollie Jepsen earned two bronze medals in super-G at a Para alpine skiing World Cup event on Tuesday in Steinach am Brenner, Austria. (Paul Hanna/Reuters/File - image credit)

Canada's Para alpine ski team showed little rust in its first World Cup competition in nearly two years on Tuesday.

Alexis Guimond and Mollie Jepsen led the way with two medals apiece while Kurt Oatway earned bronze in Steinach am Brenner, Austria.

"I'm quite happy with the race, quite satisfied," Guimond, who collected silver and bronze, told Alpine Canada. "It's a good confidence builder for the season and I'm looking forward to what's to come."

Jepsen finished the day with two bronze.

The Canadian squad will now prepare for giant slalom on Thursday and Friday in Steinach am Brenner.

"I pushed the pace and was aggressive and technically sound," Guimond said of Tuesday's performance. "I'm looking forward to skiing the GS, it's going to be good to be in that place again.

"I'm going to hustle to make that first-place finish happen."

Oatway is simply happy to be competing after a long layoff due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"While I'm happy to hit the podium," he said, "I feel like I have more in the tank and I'm looking forward to some GS races in the next few days."

The 2022 Paralympics in Beijing open March 4 with Canada expected to send about 50 athletes trying to build on a 28-medal showing four years ago in Pyeongchang, South Korea that shattered the previous national record by nine.

Alpine skiers accounted for 10 of Canada's 28 medals, including four by Jepsen and two each by Alana Ramsay and Mac Marcoux.

Canada adds 3 medals in Canmore, Alta.

Canada was strongly represented in Para nordic skiing on Tuesday, picking up three medals on home soil in Canmore, Alta.

Brittany Hudak won gold in the women's cross country ski-sprint event, while fellow Canadian Natalie Wilkie finished just behind her to take silver.

Collin Cameron picked up his first gold medal of the World Cup season in the men's sit-ski race.

The World Para Nordic Skiing World Cup continues Thursday in Canmore, Alta., with the first of three biathlon competitions.

Watch live action from the event at noon ET on CBCSports.ca.

Hudak, of Prince Albert, Sask., known more for being a biathlon specialist, surprised herself with her first win in the event.

"I never would have thought that I'd take a victory in a sprint race," said Hudak, who won a bronze medal in the biathlon at the 2018 Paralympic Games. "I felt pretty strong in my classic skiing this past year, so I knew there was potential for a great race."

WATCH | Canada's Hudak, Wilkie finish 1-2 in photo finish:

Hudak and Wilkie, of Salmon Arm, B.C., have been neck-and-neck in competition going back to Saturday, when they shared a gold medal win in the women's 7.5-kilometre standing race.

On Sunday, Wilkie got the better of Hudak winning gold in the skate-ski middle distance race.

Cameron, of Bracebridge, Ont., did not leave any doubt while winning his first sprint race of the season.

The 33-year-old set the pace with the top qualifying time, and won the semifinal race prior to his victory in the final.

"It is a big confidence booster for sure, putting it into my mind that a whole summer of training is paying off," Cameron said. "I'm just trying to keep things in check because it is only December, but it feels really good to come out here against the best athletes in my category and just thrown down."

WATCH | Collin Cameron strikes gold in men's sit-ski event:

The Russian Paralympic Committee's Ivan Golubkov took silver, while Italy's Giuseppe Romele grabbed the bronze medal.

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