VEYSONNAZ, Switzerland – The 2020 World Cup season in Para alpine skiing, which gets underway here on Wednesday, marks the return to action of Canadian Paralympic medallists Mac Marcoux and Mollie Jepsen who both missed last season in its entirety.
Veysonnaz will host three super-G and two giant slalom races until January 12. The season will span six stops and include almost 30 races.
Paralympic champion Mac Marcoux, of Sault Ste Marie, Ont., is back after taking a break over the 2018-19 season. A downhill specialist, Canada’s visually impaired skier, a five-time Paralympic Games medallist is looking to test the circuit with his new guide Tristan Rodgers.
Marcoux’s main competition will be four-time world champion Giacomo Bertagnolli. The Italian youngster is the Paralympic champion in giant slalom and silver medallist in super-G, but he did not pick up any Crystal Globes last season after missing the last races.
Canada promises to be a strong force in the women’s standing competition. Victoria’s Jepsen, bronze medallist in giant slalom at PyeongChang 2018, is making a comeback after being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease last season.
The big star for Canada last season was Frédérique Turgeon of St-Sauveur, Que., who overcame some personal challenges to earn her first Crystal Globe as the overall slalom points leader in the World Cup ladies’ standing category. She was also a triple medallist at the world championships.
Also on the squad are Paralympic Games medallists Alana Ramsay and Kurt Oatway, both of Calgary, and Alexis Guimond of Gatineau Que. There are two additions, Brian Rowland of Merrickville, Ont. in men’s sitting and Sarah Gillies of Orangeville, Ont. in women’s standing.
Para alpine athletic director and former team member Matt Hallat says this season draws the war lines for the 2021 World Championships and the 2022 Paralympic Winter Games.
“We’re very excited to have nearly everyone back healthy and well prepared for the World Cup season,’’ he said. ‘’We’ve had some great early winter training in Canada and are looking forward to seeing how we stack up.
‘’As the season progresses our focus will be on the Hafjell, Norway and Åre, Sweden World Cup stops as they are the next two hosts for the world championships and will also be our first experiences skiing in Scandinavia.”
The Veysonnaz World Cup opens Wednesday with the first Super G races.