Montreal’s Chris Del Bosco can call himself one of the best ski cross racers in Canada after he won the national men’s ski cross championships on Hudson Bay Mountain Thursday morning.
Del Bosco just edged out Calgary’s Brady Leman in the final race to take home gold, while Kristofer Mahler finished third.
“I’m pretty pumped, it’s been a tough season for me. We’re all pretty fast on the World Cup. So anytime you beat these boys, it’s a good day,” said Del Bosco.
“Brady was set up inside of me in the inside gate and he got a good start out front. I knew if I just stayed on him, there were some opportunities down here at the bottom. If I could set the right amount of draft to get pulled into the finish and it just worked out that way and I snuck around him,” said Del Bosco.
Leman said he had a good start and skied well throughout most of the course, but that the last few turns got him into trouble.
“I made just a little mistake at the bottom and my teammate Chris passed me,” he said. “The turns were pretty tough here, you had to do them well to carry your speed throughout the rest of the course.”
Both racers had some impressive runs over the last three days.
Del Bosco finished second and third in the FIS races on the first and second days behind Dave Duncan from Ontario. Leman finished fifth on the first day and jumped to second the following day.
“I was having pretty good starts, I knew that if I got out there and got into position, I could make something happen,” said Del Bosco, adding that it was his first time in Smithers.
“It’s always good racing with Brady, it can go either way, so it’s nice to be on the winning end of this one.”
The men’s national ski cross race marks the end of the championships in town.
Local ski cross racer Jason Oliemans had the opportunity to ski alongside the national athletes and picked up tips and tricks from some of the racers.
“’I’d say I learned a lot, just having so many really experienced athletes up here in Smithers and having a bigger course built up, lots of people to race and going up on the lift with the national team members and picking up little tips here and there. It was quite the experience,” said Oliemans.
“It gave me an eye into the next level of the sport you could go to with it. It gives you an idea of where the sport can go. It’s really inspirational to see them still at it and being successful at the World Cup and then coming back to Smithers and racing me.”
The Smithers Ski and Snowboard Club, who was able to put on the event with six days notice with many volunteers, was awarded the race organizing committee of the year by Alpine Canada Ski Cross.
“From what we can tell from the athletes, the coaches and the out of town volunteers, it was one of the best Canadian national finals that they’ve ever had,” said Gary Huxtable, the co-chair of the event.
“[The award] says that we’re able to put things together in a short period of time and everything was successful. We’re hoping that this bodes well for the future and that we can hold NorAm-level races or Canadian national final races here again in the future.”
More photos to come.