Veterans, new pair highlight Para alpine World Cup season

Canadian Paralympic Committee

April 03, 2024

Oatway, Ericsson/Smith, Guimond top-three in World Cup standings

Ericsson and Smith

Kurt Oatway of Calgary and the new pair of Kalle Ericsson and his guide Sierra Smith posted second place overall finishes and Alexis Guimond added a third on the Para alpine World Cup season which concluded late last month.

The revelation of the 2023-24 season on the Canadian team were the performances of first-year national team members Ericsson and Smith, from Kimberley, B.C. and Ottawa. They ranked third overall in the men’s giant slalom earning two silver and two bronze.

They also sparkled in the slalom with two gold and a silver, ranking sixth overall.

The arrival of the pair couldn’t have been timelier. Earlier this year Canada’s greatest visually impaired alpine skier Mac Marcoux announced his retirement after earning six Paralympic medals over the last three winter Games.

“I had no idea that I was in the running for an overall podium this season until after the first run today,’’ said Ericsson last month at the final race of the season in Sella Nevea, Italy. ‘’This being my first season with World Cup starts, I didn’t even have it in mind. I am shocked and overjoyed with our season!”

Oatway, a two-time Paralympian, ranked second in the World Cup sit skiing downhill standings this past season, earning two silver medals in the three races as poor weather conditions heavily impacted the schedule this season.

“Now that I’m 40, being on the overall downhill podium means I still got it. I’ll be around for a little while longer,’’ announced Oatway on Alpine Canada’s Instagram. Oatway also won two bronze medals in super G races, ranking fifth for the season in the event.

Guimond opened the season with seven straight podium finishes with a gold, two silver and four bronze in downhill, super G, and giant slalom men’s standing events. He finished third overall in the super G in which he posted his victory at the second stop in Steinach, Austria. He was also fifth in the downhill and sixth in the GS.

‘’Knowing I can race at that level and be among the best in the world makes me very happy,’’ Guimond told Radio-Canada. ‘’I have to put myself in a state of mind to leave it all on the course and push myself to the limits.’’

After some key retirements after Beijing 2022, this past season showed Canada’s Para alpine team is ready to make a giant push towards the next Winter Games in Milan-Cortina 2026.


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