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Pair of former Freestyle Whistler athletes make national team

Jessie Linton, Sam Cordell are taking the next step in their careers and joining Team Canada’s NextGen squad
Sam and Jessie
Jessie Linton (middle) and Sam Cordell (left) pose with coach Josh Kober after an event at Apex Mountain Resort in 2021.

The Sea to Sky contingent on Team Canada’s freestyle mogul team got a little bit stronger last week with the announcement that Freestyle Whistler alums Jessie Linton and Sam Cordell are joining the team.

“It’s so exciting because I feel like there’s so many Quebec skiers and we’ve been a bit low on B.C. skiers in the past, and now to see so many of us and how strong B.C. is it’s quite exciting,” said Linton about her and Cordell joining Pemberton’s Brendan Kelly, Whistler’s Sofiane Gagnon and Squamish’s Jordan Kober on the team.

“It’s just amazing. I’ve been over the moon ever since [I got the call]. It’s a really exciting next step in my career and I can’t wait for the future things to come.”

Still early in their ski careers, both 20-year-old Linton and 21-year-old Cordell’s journeys to Team Canada have been extremely similar. Born in Vancouver one year apart, they each started freestyle skiing in Whistler at a young age. Both skiers then made the jump to the B.C. Mogul Team at 15 years old and attended their first Junior World Ski Championships in 2019. Each skier then capped off their first post-pandemic season with their best years yet, which included Nor Am Cup podiums and multiple strong finishes at the national level.

However, out of all the highlights and podiums so far in their careers, both Linton and Cordell agree that getting the call from Team Canada head coach Jim Schiman, telling them they made Team Canada, tops the list. And being able to take that next step together makes the news even better.

“It’s really awesome to be with Jessie. Also, our friend Sam from the Alberta team made it up as well. We’re super close with him, so that’s nice too,” said Cordell. “Traditionally, moguls has been really dominated by French Canadians and people from Quebec. So it’s nice to have a bunch of westerners with us, people that we’ve known for a long time, so it’s not as drastic of a change.

“We have the best skiing in the country and produce a lot of the best skiers just by virtue of our terrain, and that’s not even mentioning the awesome programs provincially and regionally. So I think it’s awesome to have more of a balance of people and it’s good for Canada as a whole to have different people involved.”

Long-term, both Cordell and Linton have their sights set on making the Olympics one day. But for now, with the next Olympics still four years away, they plan on taking things one step at a time and soaking up as much as they can from their new coaches and teammates like Mikaël Kingsbury and the Dufour-Lapointe sisters, Chloe and Justine, who have dominated the sport for years.

“[I’m going to] be an absolute sponge with all my coaches’ advice and everything and just put 100 per cent in every single training run and go really hard in the gym and just keep that passion going,” said Linton.

“I’m a very competitive person and I’m really observative of my teammates. So I think it’s going to be really good for me. I’ve already been watching my teammates and looking at how they train and how they take in information and how they use it. It’s been really eye-opening to me and also made me realize that next level of intensity. Being around those World Cup athletes is just so exciting.”

While training for the upcoming season has already begun, Cordell and Linton are as excited for next ski season as they have ever been and can’t wait to see their progress when competitions get underway.

With one Nor Am Cup podium under each of their belts so far, each skier hopes to build on that success in 2023 and, if everything goes right, potentially even make the cut for their first World Cup appearances.