Renzoni reflects on Junior Worlds 

WMSC grad learned plenty in Norway

click to enlarge PHOTO COURTESY OF SARAH RENZONI - Ella Renzoni hit the top 30 at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Norway earlier this month.
  • Photo courtesy of Sarah Renzoni
  • Ella Renzoni hit the top 30 at the FIS Junior World Ski Championships in Norway earlier this month.

Though the 2020 FIS Junior World Ski Championships at Narvik, Norway were cut short, Whistler Mountain Ski Club grad Ella Renzoni got in every race she went for.

The 19-year-old competed in four events, taking 30th in the downhill on March 7 and 44th in the giant slalom on March 11 while suffering DNFs in the super-G and Alpine combined.

Renzoni had mixed feelings about her downhill performance, but took some confidence in her training runs, as she took finishes of 22nd and 32nd.

"I put it all out there on the race run, but for me, that was the hardest downhill I've done yet. It was quite bumpy, I'm not going to lie. The snow was a bit rougher than I'd hoped," she said, noting the conditions while ideal on the first day of training, degraded in the following days. "Unfortunately, none of the days, we started from the top. We started at a different start every day due to the conditions."

Starting from the super-G start on race day, Renzoni said: "We didn't have that much speed to start off because it was a flatter start. I found it difficult to get in the rhythm of downhill skiing because I'm not as confident on them as the top girls."

However, it's a lesson that Renzoni will have to heed going forward, as those are conditions she'll likely face again on the World Cup. Renzoni said the only significant experience she has on challenging downhill tracks have come in the past 12 months during NorAm Cup action at Sugarloaf Mountain and at Lake Louise, so she's still adapting.

"I was happy with how I skied, but I wasn't happy with how far out I was," she said. "I'm still learning the speed track."

While Renzoni had competed internationally, this was easily the biggest event she's been part of.

"It was insane just to see the talent of the top girls who also race World Cup," she said. "I'd be able to see their skiing, and I know their name from World Cup starts.

"Their whole team dynamics are incredible. You can tell that the top girls and the top boys have been working together for so long that you can see the relationships."

Renzoni said she often rode the T-bars and gondolas and interacted with the Narvik locals, who were eager to put on a memorable event as they're looking to land the 2027 FIS World Championships.

"They were so happy to be there. It was incredible to see. Everyone was coming out and this was their one big event this year," she said. "They were all super excited."

Because her events were done earlier, as she wasn't planning to race the slalom, Renzoni was already prepared to come home and was able to get on an earlier flight.

"I changed my flight to a day earlier, which was lucky, because there was a huge snowstorm and everyone got stuck there for a bit longer," she said.

Renzoni was looking forward to the NorAm Cup finals in Panorama, though they were scrubbed because of COVID-19 concerns, especially after enjoying a strong start to the season out west before taking a step back when the scene shifted to Eastern resorts. Still Renzoni, appreciated the chance to train with the Quebec provincial team while on that part of the continent, giving her a great ability to gauge her progress.

"It was incredible to be working with them for about a month in training and racing, just having that competition every day to see how I stood, not only in races," she said.

Renzoni is in isolation with friend and former WMSC teammate Mollie Jepsen, who was also in Norway, though in Oslo.

Fellow WMSC skiers Asher Jordan and Kyle Alexander were named to the Canadian team for Junior Worlds but did not attend due to injury.

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