Skip to content
Join our Newsletter

Anne-Marie Joncas becomes U19 Canadian champion

The local ski-cross racer also donned the Maple Leaf at the Winter Youth Olympics

Anne-Marie Joncas has had quite the winter.

Joncas represented Canada in Gangwon, South Korea at January’s end for the Winter Youth Olympics. The 17-year-old (although eliminated in the group stage) won two heats, demonstrating her ability to hang with some of the best in the world. 

Then in March, Joncas prevailed in a one-heat shootout for the U19 national title in Nakiska, Alta. Kael Oberlander from Kelowna and University of Calgary Dino Maren Vincett grabbed silver and bronze behind her. 

The unusual format didn’t much change Joncas’ game plan. She knew that she was close in talent to her chief rivals and had been through a few tightly-contested qualifying runs with them the day before. She decided, therefore, to refrain from overthinking and let her training kick in on race day. 

“I was pretty stoked, honestly,” Joncas said about her win. “I haven't necessarily had my best results this year, but I was really gaining more experience and I found that that showed in my last race. [Oberlander and Vincett] are two girls whom I hadn’t previously beaten, so it felt pretty great to show that my skills are there.” 

‘Anything can happen’

Any form of Olympic outing is invaluable for an athlete, and Gangwon was no exception. The round-robin format there forced Joncas and her opponents to feel some pressure, spending four-plus hours in their speed suits doing run after run—essentially a microcosm of her entire season. 

“It was such an amazing experience to meet people from all over the world,” Joncas said. “We had a really awesome team with our coaches, and the whole group that went got along super well. The biggest thing about [racing in Gangwon] was mental: if you can turn off your brain once in a while, from one run to the next, you can be at your best.” 

Joncas also loves it when her teammates are at their best. That’s why she got up at 2 a.m. on April 14 to watch Emeline Bennett, Kaleb Barnum and Nick Katrusiak win medals at the FIS Ski Cross Junior World Championships in Idre Fjäll, Sweden. 

“You can ask anyone in my family. I was buzzing the whole day…and I literally couldn't go to sleep that whole rest of the night because I was so happy for them,” she gushed. “Emeline, Kaleb and Nick worked really hard. It was an exciting race. Anything can happen and Canada did so well. I was so happy for them and proud to be Canadian.” 

Going into next year, Joncas hopes to put a few injuries further behind her and get more used to the physical, unpredictable nature of high-level ski cross. It’s not always a comfortable learning curve, but her peers are frequently supportive and encouraging even when they compete directly against her. Perhaps that’s what the Whistlerite loves most about her sport.

If Joncas is able to ski to her potential on a consistent basis, a World Juniors berth of her own is well within the realm of possibility.