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Anne-Marie Joncas qualifies for 2024 Winter Youth Olympics

Joncas is the lone Whistlerite on Canada’s ski-cross roster
Whistler’s Anne-Marie Joncas is the lone local on the Canadian ski-cross team for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympics.

It hasn’t quite been smooth sailing lately for Anne-Marie Joncas, but she came through when it mattered.

The 17-year-old rose to the occasion on Dec. 9 and 10 at a FIS ski-cross contest in Nakiska, Alta., winning bronze and silver in each of her two races. Joncas prevailed in both qualifying events as well, demonstrating her combination of consistency and high-end speed. 

Decision-makers with Alpine Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) were evidently impressed. That’s why Joncas is the only Whistlerite on the Canadian ski-cross team for the upcoming Winter Youth Olympics in Gangwon, South Korea. Kael Oberlander from Big White rounds out the group alongside Calgarians Cole Merrett and William Johnston. 

“I’m just really happy and proud to be able to go to Korea and represent Canada,” Joncas said. “I got injured last year in February, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to do this race. I’m just so happy that I’m even able to ski, and that I have this awesome opportunity.” 

Though born in Mont-Tremblant, Que., Joncas moved to Whistler in 2016. Her parents Laura and Louis Joncas are both avid skiers and instructors, so it’s no surprise she got onto powder at two years of age. The young girl was hesitant about actually racing at first, but decided to follow her friends into the sport. 

Ten-year-old Joncas signed on with the Whistler Mountain Ski Club as an alpine athlete, but she only branched out into ski cross last year based on the advice of her coach Drew Hetherington. Since then, Joncas has linked up with the Alberta-based Evolve Ski Cross Club, where she is mentored by Mat Leduc. 

“He is truly a good human and a good coach,” Laura said of Leduc, who also deals with local NextGen athletes Emeline Bennett and Nick Katrusiak. Both reached the podium in Nakiska the same week Joncas did. 

‘I want to do Canada proud’

Joncas’ dedication to her new discipline has taken her as far from home as New York. Her support network includes not just Hetherington, Leduc and her family, but 2018 Olympic silver medallist Brittany Phelan, who gifted her with a pair of skis. 

“It’s kind of cliché, but my parents, honestly, have really supported me financially in whatever I wanted to do when it came to ski cross,” Joncas said. “It’s not exactly easy to get into that training, because [it’s only really] in Nakiska. They just want me to be happy and have fun and all that stuff. 

“Also, the Evolve team—they’re super happy to have newer people coming into ski cross. Their team is a little bit older and everyone has been super supportive. Everyone helps each other and the whole ski-cross community. It’s been awesome.” 

For the time being, Joncas still cross-trains in alpine skiing, which helps her round out her developing skill set. 

“There’s a lot of things that transfer from alpine to ski cross for sure, like visualization and knowing how to take different styles of turns in different environments,” she explained. “But ski cross is obviously on a whole other level, and what I find kind of cool is that it’s really different. It can be a bit scary, and people are often intimidated by it … but every [ski cross racer] has been there at one point, so they’re very [welcoming].”

This season, Joncas has managed to strike a healthier balance between sport, school and her mental health, which has clearly paid dividends. She’s thrilled to join the ranks of Whistlerites who get to represent Canada at an international event, and while she doesn’t know how far ski cross will take her, she intends to seize the moment. 

“I want to do Canada proud,” said Joncas. “I want to be able to take these next couple of weeks and get as ready as I can—mentally and physically—for the race. I’m trying to be a good person and have a good reputation for Canada too.” 

The Gangwon 2024 Winter Youth Olympics take place from Jan. 19 to Feb. 1. Learn more at