Brodie Seger and Jack Crawford lead rebuilding of Canadian Men’s Alpine Ski Team
LAKE LOUISE, Alberta. – The results of the World Small Group Championships this year by Jack Crawford and Brodie Seger indicate that the rebuilding of the Canadian men’s downhill team may accelerate.
Seger, 25, and Crawford, 24, see the results as a stepping stone to an Olympics season that begins with Friday’s World Cup downhill in Lake Louise, Alta.
A second descent is Saturday followed by the super-G on Sunday.
The retirements of world champion Erik Guay and world championship medalists Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Dustin Cook in recent years have given way to a men’s downhill team with an average age of 24 attempting those same heights.
Just four months apart, Crawford and Seger of Toronto, Whistler, BC, are work in progress downhill. However, they challenge the world’s best super-G skiers with their technical skills.
“Jack and I are a bit similar in that we’ve always been slightly more technical speed skiers,” Seger explained. “We could sometimes have more difficulty on the glider downhill slopes, on flatter terrain. “
Running with a metal plate in his reconstructed shoulder, Seger finished fourth in super-G at the February world championship in Cortina, Italy. The Canadian finished four hundredths of a second off the podium.
A super-G medal at Cortina, co-host of the 2026 Winter Games, was Crawford’s goal.
Thwarted in that offer, Crawford recovered by placing fourth the next day in the Alpine Combined, which is the combined time of a super-G race and a slalom. He set the fastest time of the super-G stage.
“It just gives us confidence,” Crawford said. “It shows us what we’re really capable of.
“After the world championships I really think Brodie feels the same, finishing fourth … it hurts a bit, but when it comes to confidence it really helps show that we’re not that far away. , and the podium is just around the corner. “
Last year’s World Cup in Lake Louise was canceled due to COVID-19, which denied young Canadian skiers the chance to race on their country’s snow.
Seger crashed and exploded his shoulder during the first downhill of the season in Val-d’Isère, France.
A hook plate surgically implanted in his shoulder for added stability made skiing and sleeping uncomfortable, but he was obsessed with running in Cortina.
“Having never gone through this whole injury process before and back in the game, I was extremely determined more than anything to come back strong from the start,” said Seger.
“Coming back to racing was a huge learning experience. I was completely focused on what I needed to do to get back to it. I wasn’t in the middle of the season worrying about the results, my ranking. or something like that. It was just one step at a time, what should I do in this rehab? “
The top three super-G starters in Cortina did not cross the finish line. Pulling on the # 4 start bib, Crawford reached the bottom and radioed mountain information to Seger with navigation instructions in the trickier section.
“It was an extremely difficult position for him to start so early, being in this position for the first time in his career and facing all kinds of radio chatter,” Seger said.
“The rapport he was able to give the rest of us after his race was key, and it really felt like a team effort that day.”
Crawford says he felt more relaxed heading into the Alpine Combined the next day.
“It was a scenario where my stress level and everything was low and I arrived confident,” he said. “I just skied like I did in pre-race training and it set me up for a pretty good day.”
Men’s speed coach John Kucera, 2009 world downhill champion, wants continuous improvement from super-G and downhill riders this season.
“Brodie and Jack have good starting positions in super-G which puts them in a position where they can be competitive,” said the Calgarian.
“We are now a group that is aiming for top 15, top 10 results. We are not here just to squeeze in the points anymore. We still have to eliminate a little downhill.”
The Cortina course was little known to international runners, which will also be the case during the Winter Olympics next February in Beijing.
“We’re all going to go to China blind and nobody really has the advantage in a way,” Kucera said. “When you have a young group, it’s almost better in a way to go without any expectations.
“We know it’s supposed to be a tough, technical hill, which is also something that plays a bit more in our hand, rather than a big open slide track.”
Jeffrey Read of Canmore, Alta., Cameron Alexander of North Vancouver, BC, and Broderick Thompson of Whistler, BC, join Seger and Crawford on Friday’s start list in Lake Louise.
Veteran rider Ben Thomsen of Invermere, BC, has not been named to the Alpine Canada team this season, but will compete in the downhill.
Thursday’s third training run was canceled “to preserve track conditions,” FIS said.
Heavy snowfall began to cover the Banff National Park ski area on Thursday with 25 centimeters expected to accumulate by Friday.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on November 25, 2021.
Donna Spencer, The Canadian Press