Thompson enjoys strong week at Copper Mountain 

WMSC alum nails down World Cup downhill spot for 2017-18

click to enlarge PHOTO BY ROGER WITNEY - THOMPSON ON TOP Whistler's Broderick Thompson, shown here at the 2017 Sport Chek Canadian Championships, hit the NorAm Cup podium three times at Copper Mountain last week.
  • Photo by Roger Witney
  • THOMPSON ON TOP Whistler's Broderick Thompson, shown here at the 2017 Sport Chek Canadian Championships, hit the NorAm Cup podium three times at Copper Mountain last week.

It'll be all downhill for Broderick Thompson on the FIS World Cup circuit in 2017-18.

By virtue of his second-overall finish in the downhill discipline on the NorAm Cup circuit, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus locked in his World Cup slot for next season.

"It's exciting and good to have that solidified. I'm excited about it," he said. "All the FIS points will put me in a better start (position) in the World Cup, so I'm really excited for that, too."

Thompson secured his position with a win in downhill on Feb. 6 at Copper Mountain, noting his runs felt good, and he ended up beating his nearest challenger by 0.30 seconds.

"I wasn't really sure. Even when I got to the finish, I felt like I'd had a solid run but I didn't know what everyone else did, so I wasn't positive, but I was happy with the process and the way I skied, so I was hoping it was fast. Then when I saw the time, I was happy with that," he said.

In the following races at Copper, he continued his strong skiing with back-to-back runner-up finishes in the super-G. Thompson, 22, explained he felt he could do well when he arrived in Colorado, and then his body proved him right.

"I was feeling confident and really pushed the limits as much as I could. With the way I was skiing, I just felt strong and continued to bring the speed and experience I've been building on the World Cup into the NorAms," he said. "I feel like I was confident going in, which was a big thing, and then my results showed me I can be confident with the way I'm skiing.

"I can take it on to the next races and to the end of the season."

Before hitting the NorAm slopes, Thompson spent much of January in Europe competing on the World Cup circuit. Though the results perhaps haven't been there, Thompson feels he's steadily making some progress, especially after putting up some good runs at the notorious Austrian gauntlet in Kitzbuhel.

"Kitzbuhel went pretty well for me, even though I didn't pop into the top 30. I improved a lot and became more confident," he said. "I really had fun there and I was excited to push out of the gate every day and learn new things. It's one of the toughest tracks on the World Cup and to not be intimidated by it, to have confidence pushing out of the gate, it's a really big thing. I look forward to going back there. I was able to break my time down from run to run and by my last run, I was racing it."

Thompson acknowledged that on the World Cup, he's had the opportunity to be mentored by a pair of Canadian Cowboys in Erik Guay and fellow WMSC grad Manny Osborne-Paradis, both medallists already at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland.

"Learning from Erik and Manny and those older guys is a big thing," he said. "It's pretty cool just having them around, how professional everyone is and being able to ask those guys on course about specific sections and them telling you 'You need to do this, you need to do that better' and when they see something you're doing well and they tell you, that's really big and a confidence booster.

"If I can keep on learning from them, I can go big places in this sport."

Next up, Thompson will return to the World Cup circuit for races in Kvitfjell, Norway on Feb. 25 and 26. He'll then come back to this side of the pond for Mont Ste. Marie, Que. for the giant slalom and slalom finals and then down to Sugarloaf Mountain in Maine for the super-G finals. Thompson is currently second in points in the latter.

At the aforementioned worlds in Switzerland, Canadians continued their successful run.

After winning gold in the super-G last Wednesday, Feb. 8, Erik Guay followed up with another medal in the downhill, taking silver on Feb. 12. Guay was 0.12 seconds back of Swiss racer Beat Feuz while Austrian Max Franz was third.

Osborne-Paradis, meanwhile, took 31st. He was third in the super-G earlier in the competition.

As for the women, Marie-Michele Gagnon posted a strong result in the Alpine combined, taking sixth on Feb. 10. Valerie Grenier was 11th and Candace Crawford 21st.

The world championships will run until Feb. 19.

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