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Marielle Thompson, Reece Howden break through in Alleghe

Thompson now has 27 career World Cup victories; Howden owns 11
Marielle Thompson (left, elevated) and Reece Howden won their respective World Cup ski cross races in Alleghe, Italy on Feb. 3, 2024.

Canadian ski cross athletes just double-dipped for gold in Alleghe, Italy. 

On Feb. 3, Marielle Thompson and Reece Howden both raced to their second win of the 2023-24 FIS campaign. It's the third time this season Canada has prevailed in both the men’s and women’s races on the same day. 

Thompson locked up the 27th World Cup victory of her career (in 130 starts) and stood on the podium next to compatriot Brittany Phelan, who took silver for her 15th podium. French contender Marielle Berger Sabbatel checked in for bronze.

Hannah Schmidt wound up fourth, which is her seventh top-five in what has already been a career year. The Ottawa native maintains a narrow three-point lead over Thompson for the overall season lead. 

“It’s a great day when two Canadians are on top of the box, and happy to be there with Reece,” said a smiling Thompson in a press release. “I wanted to ski smooth today and to improve the starts. I learned some things from India’s strong starts [on Friday] and it was enough to pull it off today when there was some fast skiing from my teammates and the rest of the field. The team is firing right now and we’re ready to keep it going.”

India Sherret (Cranbrook, B.C.), who earned her first World Cup gold on Friday, was fifth this time around. Abby McEwen (Edmonton, Alta.) did not make it through her run.

Men's results 

Howden, the incumbent Crystal Globe winner, now owns 11 triumphs in his 52 career World Cup appearances. The Chilliwack-based racer has launched himself ahead of fellow Canadian Jared Schmidt for the lead in FIS season rankings. 

Florian Wilmsmann pulled up second for Germany, while Austria's Johannes Aujesky had enough speed for third. 

“It was a battle out there today,” Howden told reporters after the event. “I tried to focus on my skiing and to having a strong start. The start here is a long one and it’s important to get it right. The team is battling hard right now, people are stepping up and everyone is on a high. They put on an amazing event here and now we’re excited to get to the next race and to keep it going.”

Schmidt (Ottawa) found himself in 12th, ahead of Kevin Drury (Toronto, Ont.) in 15th and Carson Cook (Edmonton) who was 18th.

In other news, Whistlerite Sasha Gilbert failed to complete his giant slalom run last weekend at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Les Portes de Soleil, France. Canada was led by Pierick Charest (Blainville, Que.) in 13th at that particular event. 

Catch the Canadian ski cross squad in action again Feb. 10 and 11.