The 2018/19 FIS Ski Cross World Cup is underway after a lack of snow and warm temperatures caused two event cancellations in Val Thorens and Montafon.
The first race of the new season took place in Arosa, Switzerland, with dual Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim progressing through to finals.
Unfortunately Kennedy-Sim was unable to progress through the first heat of racing, finishing in 15th place.
Australians Lilly Speiser and Douglas Crawford made their World Cup debuts, finishing 29th and 57th respectively.
Ski and Snowboard Australia (SSA) has today named a team of 16 for the FIS Junior Freestyle Ski & Snowboard World Championships 2018 that will take place in Wanaka, New Zealand from 24 August - 8 September 2018.
Australia has a proud record at the Junior World Championships and will be looking to bring home a swag of medals as they take on the top nations from around the globe.
The FIS Junior World Championships will form part of the Audi quattro Winter Games NZ which returns for its sixth edition in 2018.
Held at the impressive Cardrona Alpine Resort, the competition will feature freestyle ski and snowboard Big Air, Halfpipe and Slopestyle for both disciplines, Ski Cross, Snowboard Cross and Snowboard Parallel Slalom and Parallel Giant Slalom.
SSA Performance Pathway & Program Manager Benjamin Wordsworth said FIS Junior World Championships provides valuable experience for junior athletes to step up onto the international stage.
“I’m really happy with the team we’ve selected, across all the disciplines… I feel we have a strong side who’ll be able to match it with the best in the world.
“This is an important event in our performance pathway as it provides our young athletes the opportunity to compete on the world stage and gauge where they’re at against the top young athletes.
“Australia has experienced a lot of success at the Junior World Championships. Many of our top athletes like Scotty James, Alex Pullin and Jarryd Hughes, to name a few, all represented Australia at the Junior World Championships and have gone on to represent their country at the Olympic Games, senior World Championships and World Cups.
“We certainly believe the team we have assembled have the ability to achieve podium finishes when they line up Cardrona later this month,” said Wordsworth.
Congratulations to the following athletes selected in the Australian Team for the FIS Junior World Championships:
Park & Pipe
Freeski & Snowboard Big Air: 22 – 26 August 2018
Ski Cross & Snowboard Cross: 24 – 28 August 2018
Freeski & Snowboard Slopestyle: 27 August – 1 September 2018
Freeski & Snowboard Halfpipe: 31 August – 4 September 2018
Snowboard Parallel GS & Parallel SL: 4 – 7 September 2018
For tournament website visit: https://www.wintergamesnz.kiwi/the-games/
Sami Kennedy-Sim has ended her season with a career-best overall World Cup tenth place with 259 points. Her result has been a steady climb up the standings after finishing 12th in 2017, 14th in 2016 and 16th. Her first World Cup season was in 2009/10.
The World Cup Ski Cross Final in Megeve, France over the weekend did not provide the thrilling season finale athletes hoped for after increasingly bad weather forced organisers to cancel the event.
In the prize-giving ceremony under the falling snow in the finish were Sweden’s Sandra Naeslund earned both the ski cross and the Freestyle overall crystal globes for 2017/18.
“I was disappointed to not race and try to improve my world ranking but I am happy to have finished the season tenth overall. Conditions here have been challenging and the track suffered due to rain and snow,” Kennedy-Sim said.
After a long season the two-time Olympian is headed home to Sydney before tackling the 2018/19 season.
Two-time Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim, who has been Australia’s leading Ski Cross racer for over a decade, has seen her sport grow internationally into a fierce battle ground.
Talented and determined athletes require every mental and physical skill to enter the combat zone in which four women go head to head over jumps and down features to finish first or second to keep alive any hopes of progressing to the next round.
There’s no prize for third until the very last race for the podium.
Kennedy-Sim, who has been a fixture in or near the top ten in the world for many years, placed eighth in the PyeongChang Games after a series of annoying 11th places in lead-up World Cups.
Last weekend in Russia, she improved on her Olympic result with a fifth and seventh in two tightly contested finals and is preparing for the World Cup Finals in Megeve, France this weekend.
A broken wrist strap on her ski pole at the start of her PyeongChang final’s race robbed the Sydney ski queen of an even better result and she has no doubts about going after a third Olympics.
“Hell yeah,” Kennedy-Sim exclaimed when asked if she was continuing this week.
“PyeongChang was definitely a step in the right direction. It’s taken me eight years to get here. I am definitely committed to continuing.”
Her struggle to get to her first Olympics in Sochi after suffering from a stroke is well documented and the now 29-year-old says she has grown as an athlete and a person.
“I had such an amazing Olympic experience in Korea. I learned a lot from Sochi and how I would do some things differently. I grew up,” she said.
“Olympics is not a World Cup. It’s a really special thing. You only get one shot and I wanted to make the most of the experience.”
“Watching other teammates and letting myself soak up the Olympic vibe was really important. In Sochi I tried to push it down and this time I was far more relaxed and far better prepared than four years ago.”
Is Kennedy-Sim a fighter? Hell, yeah (using her own words). From a life-threatening illness to competing in a cut-throat, sometimes vicious racing in a sport that is still emerging in Australia requires a tough-minded attitude, yet it’s the race in her head that she wants to conquer more than anything.
“Honestly for me, even three weeks from Olympics to now, my biggest battle is between the ears.”
“My mental game really tends to be what lets me down, particularly in the last six to nine months. I’m looking forward to building that (her mental skills). If I can get that up to scratch, I will be all good.”
“It’s about fine tweaking, that’s I need to do.”
Kennedy-Sim knows she is better than good in the elite echelon of Ski Cross, yet as she talks openly and publicly about her competitive mental skill set and desire to step it up more, you can’t escape the feeling - as a bystander - that she struggles with the idea of climbing her mental cliff, and that you would willingly stand beside her, or better still behind, and gently nudge her up the craggy, rock face called confidence.
“There are elements of my personality under pressure,” she muses. “And for me now it’s about the skills. It’s about minimising.”
“The Olympics were five full race rounds to stay in the game. I am looking forward to building on that more and having that bit more confidence. You only get that in races. That’s why I stayed on racing instead of going home.”
Being a proud Olympian comes through in everything Kennedy-Sim says and forms her approach to the future.
“In the last year I’ve learnt that our sport is continuing to grow rapidly at the elite end and those experiences at that level you can’t buy. Seeing the way successful people operate.”
“It’s only the beginning of March and I’ve been in nine countries in three months watching how those successful people operate. Learning how and what makes the best tick. It’s about surrounding yourself with successful people.”
“I often try to make sure that I am setting an example. I want to be the most successful I can be. If you stand in your own way you’re never going to get there,” she states.
The strength of genuine team feeling amongst the Australians in PyeongChang was highlighted by Chef de Mission Ian Chesterman and embodied by leading athletes such as Kennedy-Sim.
“Those days before the Closing are treasured and the ceremony itself tied us all together. The feeling of the team was so good.”
“I think that the people that made the Olympic team were the bobsled guys and they really embraced the Olympic culture. They went to so many events for people they didn’t know.”
“They really were the glue and were relatively new to the winter sport. That was so important to the team. There was such good comradery.”
“So, for me, at 8am in the morning, I was up at their event.”
“We are here for you. It is the Olympic spirit.”
“There will be a few people who retire and if this is a cultural set for our team, with so many young ones, what a great start!”
Kennedy-Sim is a natural leader who is often involved in development programs in the domestic winters on the NSW and Victorian ski fields.
“I always aspire to be someone who can be sought out. Community engagement is important. I might fantasise about retiring but keeping going justifies everything for me. I want to be someone who instigates healthy change. That means I’m doing my job.”
There is one more event on her racing calendar for this season. The World Cup Ski Cross Final, which uses current world rankings and goes straight into racing without timed qualification runs and that’s just how Kennedy-Sim likes it.
“There’s no qualifications – just rankings seeding, which is good for me. It’s way better racing.”
The Ski Cross World Cup Final in Megeve, France will be held on Saturday, 17 March from 11.30pm (AEDT). You can follow live results here and watch on Eurosport Australia. Check your local guides here
After finishing eighth at the PyeongChang Games, Ski Cross racer Sami Kennedy-Sim didn’t let up and has successfully contested the Sunny Valley double World Cups in Russia over the weekend.
Demonstrating her strength in the sometimes brutal sport, Kennedy-Sim qualified fourth and fifth in the back-to-back races over two days, coming away with fifth and seventh placings in tightly contested finals.
Coming off the Olympic Games, many would expect that rest, recovery and time to chill would be a priority, but not for the Manly racer who is enjoying good form and intends to continue.
“I am proud to have continued on from my strong racing at the Olympics in Russia,” Kennedy-Sim said this morning after making the top eight in both World Cups in Russia.
“The track was in great condition and made for very tight racing, with photo finishes deciding the final heats. I led all but one heat in the past two days and am looking forward to racing in Megeve on March 17.”
World Cup race one was won by Fanny Smith (SUI), 2nd Brittany Phelan (CAN), 3rd Katrin Ofner (AUT), with Sami Kennedy-Sim in 5th. Race two was won by Sandra Naesland (SWE), Brittany Phelan (CAN), 3rd Fanny Smith (SUI) with Sami Kennedy-Sim in 7th.
“I now have nine days to rest and recover from a whirlwind few weeks before the World Cup finals kick off in Megeve, France,” she said.
Dual Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim has recorded her best result of the season after finishing eighth in the women's Ski Cross finals at Phoenix Park on Friday.
While the 29-year-old said that it was "hard not to be disappointed" with her placing, the skier heads into her last remaining World Cups after PyeongChang confident and ready to fight.
"That was a solid battle and it's a step up for me and the best result that I've had all season," she said.
"I'm going to continue building on this, I've got three more World Cups after this straight away so it's time for me to get my act together and keep producing these performances."
Canada dominated the podium, with compatriots Kelsey Serwa and Brittany Phelan winning gold and silver while Switzerland's Fanny Smith secured bronze.
Prior to the finals, Kennedy-Sim spent time reviewing old footage from the PyeongChang test event.
"I was looking for race footage from when we were here ... and all I could find was our qualifying footage so we decided to have a watch," she said.
"Two years ago I was still making small finals and getting similar results but I am so much better now than I was two years ago.
"Then talk about four years ago, six years ago, everyone is just stepping up in this sport and it is a pleasure to be part of it.
"To be one of the top girls in the world, that's sick and I hope that I can get other kids to come and have a crack, it's super fun!"
After the Sochi Olympian was guaranteed a spot in the quarterfinals due to Italy's Lucrezia Fantelli not starting, the Sydney native said that she was afforded an "extra training run" in her first heat of the day.
"I just managed to knuckle everything down when it counted and get into the semi," she said.
"I skied the run that I've had on my mind the whole time I've been here and it finally came out on snow."
Misfortune struck the skier when her pole broke at the beginning of the semi-final.
"Unfortunately I had a bit of bad luck in the semi-final to go through to the final breaking my pole at the start and getting stuck.
"Exercising my fitness and my strength by having got myself up the Wu-Tang which didn't feel very good."
While Kennedy-Sim was disappointed to have missed out on walking with her teammates in the Opening Ceremony, there was a sea of green and gold at Phoenix Park to cheer the Olympian on.
"I've looked out in the crowd today and there's a big sea of yellow Aussie jackets here. That to me has summed up my Olympic experience, coming down in my first heat and just seeing so many Aussies, everyone cheering my name, that's amazing to have that support," she said.
"I'm really lucky to have my family here, some friends, some teammates but also my Ski Cross family.
"Our small team, we are a big family and we travel and spend way more time together than we do with our own families.
"I'm really looking forward to sharing today with them and being able to spend time with people and really relax a bit.
"In two days we pack up and it's business again."
Sami Kennedy-Sim has achieved a top 10 finish in seeding at the women’s ski cross competition at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang.
Predicted inclement weather forced organisers to move seeding from Friday to Thursday, with finals now scheduled for earlier in the day on Friday.
Kennedy-Sim was sixth to go in the seeding round, crossing the line with a time of 1:14.97.
She finished ninth overall and 1.86 seconds off the pace, which was set by Canada’s Marielle Thompson.
The Sochi Olympian was happy to blow away some of the cobwebs and post a strong run.
“I had my worst run ever in training this morning, so to get those Olympic nerves out of the way was a good thing,” Kennedy-Sim said.
“My start was really strong but I’ve got some elements that I need to clean-up. Looking good going into a race tomorrow, it will be fun,” she said.
Kennedy-Sim knows she’ll need more than a strong start if she is to move through Friday’s finals.
“Always something I can rely on but on this track, we had quite a bit of passing in the training days and there was crazy passing yesterday in the men’s (event).
“Fair game, everyone has a bullseye on their back here.”
The 29-year old takes confidence from her previous Games experience.
“I learnt that anything can happen at an Olympics. The cool thing is you don’t have to worry about the qualifying run because you’ve already qualified. Takes the pressure of a little bit.
“Win lose or draw, if I can inspire a couple of kids at home to get off the couch and get active – that’s the best thing, that’s what the Olympics is about,” she said.
Women’s Ski Cross finals begin 9am local time (11am AEST) on Friday 23 February (Day 14). Kennedy-Sim will start in heat two in the round of eight finals.
Finals consist of 1/8 finals, quarterfinals, semifinals, small final and big final. The competitors are placed in the heats of the first phase (1/8 finals) based upon their seeding. Each heat can have a maximum of four competitors with the first two competitors of each heat advancing to the next phase.
Dual Olympian Anton Grimus has missed out on progressing through to the quarterfinals of the men's Ski Cross on Wednesday after placing fourth in his eighth final heat at Phoenix Snow Park.
The 27-year-old suffered a crash during his seeding run and went into the first final round with a sore shoulder which hampered his chances of finishing within the top two of the heat.
While Wednesday's event has seen multiple crashes as each skier tries to be the fastest down the mountain, Grimus joked that he prefers it to the thought of having to compete in other freestyle skiing sports.
"Put it this way, I'd much rather do this than aerials," he said.
"I guess it's all a matter of if you're comfortable with what you're doing and we train day in, day out, off the snow and in the gym. We've got great support from our nation in that and, like anything, if you do it once, if you do it twice, you're going to get used to it.
"There's consequences -- especially on the big stage -- everyone's going hard, that's how it is."
With his PyeongChang campaign now over, Grimus said that he's looking forward to cheering on the remaining Australians who are yet to compete at the 2018 Winter Games, including teammate Sami-Kennedy Sim.
"We've got a really close knit group," he said.
The sun was out in full force at Phoenix Park on Sunday as Sochi 2014 Olympian Anton Grimus had his first official day of on-course training ahead of Wednesday's Ski Cross competition.
The 27-year-old, who has had a rollercoaster of a season as scheduled events across Europe were cancelled or cut short, said that he was "stoked to be able to get some actual training on a course" before he makes his second Olympic appearance.
"I'm fortunate that we've got three days here of training which is probably more than we've gotten at an event this winter," he said.
"It's a great course, matches up really well and from a safety aspect it's pretty good as well because you're never too high up in the air but the jumps are big. Sochi, the last jump was just insane - there was no room for error. But here, you can really just go full gas, trust in yourself and let it rip."
Despite having undergone two surgeries in the past 15 months, Grimus is heading into PyeongChang 2018 confident and with the knowledge that he can ski fast.
"I just know I can do it."
"We've got a great team here, heaps of support, dietitian, physio, doc [and] coaches all around us.
"We'll be spending a bit of time at the computer seeing where we can go better and that ski tech will be making sure that our skis are fast.
"I've got full trust in everyone and we've got a great team with OWI [Olympic Winter Institute] and AOC [Australian Olympic Committee] has put up a really good show here for us and everything's organised I think better than any other team.
"We definitely have all the tools to be able to execute and it's great."
PYEONGCHANG 2018: Australia’s Olympic Team for PyeongChang 2018 has been finalised after the reallocation of quota spots has allowed five more athletes to gain selection for next month’s Winter Games.
The Australian contingent will now see 50 athletes grace the Olympic stage between February 9-25, in a team made up of fresh talent and experience with 19 rookies, 24 two-time Olympians, five triple Olympians, one four and one five time Olympians.
Sochi Olympian Anton Grimus will join Sami Kennedy-Sim representing Australia in the freestyle skiing discipline where he’ll be looking to improve on his 25th place finish at the 2014 Games.
Grimus originally began his snow sports career in the Australian National Alpine Team but made the switch to Ski Cross in 2010 with immediate success, qualifying second for the final in his first World Cup start. Born and raised in Mt Buller, Grimus recorded his best career result in 2012 at Nakiska, Canada where he finished with a bronze medal.
Injury troubles left the Victorian sidelined for majority of the 2016/2017 season but the 27-year-old has bounced back to gain selection in his second Olympic Team.
James Matheson will join the six other Australian mogul skiing athletes at the PyeongChang Games. 22-year-old Matheson made his World Cup debut in the fast-paced freestyle discipline in 2013 and has gone on to grace the international circuit 26 times.
The Olympic debutant will join Sochi Olympians Matt Graham and Brodie Summers to round out the trio of Aussie boys, after a breakthrough 2017/2018 season which saw him qualify for his first World Cup small final and place 7th at the Thaiwoo World Cup in December.
2012 Youth Olympian Harry Laidlaw joins Greta Small and Dominic Demschar to become Australia’s third alpine skier in PyeongChang where he will make his Olympic debut.
Laidlaw has been competing throughout North America and Europe having won the giant slalom event at the National Championships and both giant slalom Junior National Championships midway through 2017.
The Team is rounded out by an extra two cross-country athletes with 2014 Olympian Aimee Watson and debutant Casey Wright gaining selection upon reallocation.
Watson made her Olympic debut four years ago alongside brother, Callum (also selected on the 2018 Team) where the 30-year-old finished in 63rd in the 10km event and 54th in the 30km mass start.
Wright made her international debut in 2012 and won bronze at the 2017 Sapporo Asian Winter Games.
The PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games kick off on February 9 with the Aussie mogul athletes the first to compete.
SKI CROSS: Sami Kennedy-Sim has been selected to fly the flag at the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games as Australia’s sole competitor in the women’s ski cross event.
“I am so proud to be on my second Olympic Team! To share this experience with my friends and family will be the best,” Kennedy-Sim said.
The Manly-native made her Olympic debut four years ago at the Sochi 2014 Games and is now a seasoned athlete of the World Cup circuit with more than 91 starts under her belt.
Despite four years of competition against the world’s best athletes, Kennedy-Sim said it is her Sochi 2014 experience that will help her the most heading into her second Olympic campaign.
“I know what to expect now. The Olympics is so different to normal World Cup competitions.”
The 29-year-old’s debut Olympics proved difficult after she had some trouble in the qualifying run before showing glimpses of brilliance in her 1/8 final. However, Kennedy-Sim ran out of luck in the race and didn't progress, finishing the day ranked 28th.
Determined to improve from an opening campaign, Kennedy-Sim has come a long way in four years including two 12th place finishes at the 2015 and 2017 World Championships and a silver medal at the 2017 Idre Fjall World Cup.
“Four years older - four years wiser! I am more connected with myself as a person and athlete now then I was in Sochi.”
The women’s ski cross event will be the last Freestyle Skiing discipline to be contested at the 2018 Games, with Kennedy-Sim facing off against 32 competitors on Day 14 of the Games (February 23).
Kennedy-Sim, who married fellow Olympian Ben Sim (Cross-Country Skiing – Vancouver 2010) will head into the event knowing she’s raced on the Olympic course previously.
“We competed in Phoenix Park two seasons ago. The course is really fun and challenging so I am looking forward to getting back there,” she said.
Australia is also hoping to be reallocated a quota position in the men's event which will be confirmed later this week.
Ski Cross will be just one of five Freestyle Skiing disciplines at the PyeongChang 2018 Olympic Games with athletes in Aerials, Moguls, Ski Halfpipe and Ski Slopestyle also vying for medals. Find out more about freestyle skiing at the Games HERE.
Two back-to-back competitions opened 2018 for the Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup tour at Sweden’s Idre Fjall resort on the weekend with mixed results for the Australians amid another weather-affected event.
Saturday’s qualifying saw Sami Kennedy-Sim easily through as she has done every race, but going out in the quarter finals in World Cup 1, ending up with another 11th place. Sunday’s women’s finals were cancelled after the wind picked up, but by virtue of the qualifying time trials the previous day, Kennedy-Sim picked up her first top ten for the season.
Anton Grimus was not in the mix for World Cup 1, bowing out in the qualifying in 46th place, but bounced back in the second qualifying time trial with a much-improved 17th, booking himself into the eighth finals for the Sunday World Cup, where he came third.
“Idre was a tough one,” Grimus said. “The weather came in overnight with snow and wind.”
“The track was running a lot slower, so the girls were canned but the guys were able to manage without too many problems.”
Grimus had struggled for results until making the finals in the second World Cup in Idre, and is still wanting more after coming third in the opening final round and not moving through to the quarters.
“I got out of the gate in fourth which wasn’t a bad situation to be in and I backed myself to get down the course.”
“One mistake up the top put me in a long landing and I kept pushing and made up some ground.”
“I just over pressed the jumps in the slow conditions and knuckled two or three jumps leading into the flat section, which wasted my speed away and didn’t have enough down the bottom to make the pass and ended up in third place.”
“(It’s) a bit disappointing. I wanted a lot more from myself in this race. The track was a track that suited me but I didn’t have a clean enough run to make it happen… but onto Nakiska now,” he said.
Sami Kennedy-Sim, who wants to break this season’s 11th place hoo doo, did make it into the top ten for the second World Cup by virtue of the qualifying time trials.
“We’ve got a lot of wind, fresh snow and poor conditions,” Kennedy-Sim said on Sunday night after the second World Cup for the women was cancelled.
“At first it was postponed and I didn’t get a training run. It looked like we would proceed (to the finals) and then they cancelled the comp,” she said.
Staying healthy and injury-free was uppermost in her mind.
“If they had run the comp I would have withdrawn. The men’s race was in pretty bad conditions and if they were having trouble, it would have been worse for the women. They made the right decision for the safety of the athletes. Today wouldn’t have ended well.”
Kennedy-Sim was frustrated with Saturday’s World Cup result.
“I’m disappointed I didn’t make the top eight. This track is notorious for drafting. I tactically changed to be behind and draft.”
“I executed well and my race plan for the first half of the event was all good. I was able to overtake and then I went long on a jump and I got rotated. It was a near crash.”
“It was disappointing for me to have another 11th. The result on paper was another 11th but it was a photo finish. Things are starting to come together.”
“Whilst I’m happy with the decision to cancel the second World Cup, I would have liked to be able to race. I wanted to do well for our ski technician Martin Palacios for his birthday!”
Grimus and Kennedy-Sim, along with all the Ski Cross World Cup tour athletes, coaches and technicians will travel to Nakiska, Canada for the last competition on January 20 before PyeongChang.
“Let’s hope the bags come too,” Kennedy-Sim quipped. “The entire tour is on that flight. It’s a busy and exciting time.”
The December weather that plunged the Ski Cross World Cup tour into an endless ‘start-stop’ challenge is hopefully only a memory as the season restarts in Idre, Sweden on Friday this week.
Australia’s two best Ski Cross athletes, Sami Kennedy-Sim and Anton Grimus are buckling down for the remaining World Cups in Sweden and Canada before PyeongChang with coach Shawn Fleming saying that Idre provides ‘a good replica’ of the end section for the upcoming Games.
“The PyeongChang start will be slightly different from what we were on before (at a previous event), but the rest is the same. There are good opportunities for passing in the second half,” Fleming said.
“For us coming into Idre – it’s good practise because there’s a lot of passing at the end. The last half in PyeongChang is dead straight and you could be at the back and pass all the way to the front. It’s not done until you at the finish.”
Sixteen women will qualify to the final rounds in Idre and Fleming says Kennedy-Sim has pace.
“Sami is skiing up there for pace with the best of them. Really, for her, it’s just buckling down and staying composed.,” he said.
“She is definitely someone who builds on her confidence and that’s the key.”
“December was the first European winter in a long time that was start stop. The programs were continually altered and that was tough for everyone. In Montafon, there was only one training run and then step in perform right away on a one and half minute course.”
“Sami definitely recognises that the lack of continuity has made it hard and owns some of the silly mistakes. The results were 11th, 11th,11th. Just give us something other than 11th,” he said. “The small final is just as attainable as the big final when there is only four.”
“We get the 11th and can see the trend. It’s not that we’re not as good or as fast. The trend gives us a really clear position to know where to go. We need to do a better job putting it together in that one run and then it’s fair game.”
“There’s an element of luck in a sport like Ski Cross. It requires mental toughness and can switch day to day.”
“Ninety percent of what Sami does ninety percent of the time is right. Now it’s finding another five per cent.”
The Idre track suits Kennedy-Sim and is the location that delivered a World Cup podium and bronze medal last year.
“She likes the track at Idre. We’re hoping the weather looks good for the double then we are off to Nakiska (in Canada), a quick break and a final training camp before PyeongChang.”
Anton Grimus is looking for the edge and has been training with the Americans. He will want to be inside the top 32 skiers to go through the eighth finals.
“I’m fairly confident he’s going to make it and be going in to the Games. Of course, you’d want to see results,” Fleming said.
Grimus had knee surgery in June to ‘clean up’ a previous surgery in January and is all good to go.
“It’s (the knee) not 100 percent but not a limiting factor in his skiing. He’s a competitor and wants to do well.”
Currently Grimus sits outside the top 32 for Olympic qualification but Fleming says that, “with adjustments to entry allocations he should be OK for PyeongChang.”
The Idre World Cup qualifications begin with the men at 9pm, Friday evening (AEDT). The first World Cup finals on Saturday start at 9pm (AEDT). The second World Cup kicks off at 10pm on Sunday, 14 January.
Follow OWIA on Twitter for all the action. Check out the www.owia.org for a full report and watch the finals LIVE on Eurosport Australia
By Belinda Noonan
Cancelled races and delays took a toll on the six-event in sixteen days Cross Alps Tour this month with three races being either abandoned or decided by qualification runs only.
The Cross Alps Tour, a tour within the broader World Cup schedule, wrapped up last night in Innichen, Italy with Australia’s Sami-Kennedy Sim finishing 11th in the race and 13th in the Cross Alps rankings.
Anton Grimus placed 33rd in the time trial qualification of 53 men, one place short of the final line World Cup line up and 43rd on the Tour rankings.
Kennedy-Sim says she is happy, albeit frustrated with another 11th place.
“We lost a couple of the races due to weather and the results were just qualifying times, not racing. It was hard to get momentum,” she said.
“I’m happy to be having elements of high performance in place and to be racing.
“The work pre-season, physically and on the mental game, has been good. The elements are all there and it’s nice to see things progress. Now it’s about putting it together.”
“I’m glad to have things to work on. That would be boring if I didn’t. I love the fight and I will keep fighting.”
“Everyone is stepping up (ahead of the PyeongChang Games),” Kennedy-Sim explained. “More people have come up from Europa Cup but there is still about 35 girls in each World Cup.”
Kennedy-Sim will return home for two weeks to “recharge” before the tour starts again on January 12 in Idre, Sweden.
Anton Grimus will also take advantage of the break to further strengthen his chances of making the top 32 to qualify for the PyeongChang Games. Grimus, who underwent knee surgery twice earlier in the year is currently ranked 34th.
The poet Robert Burns’ saying goes that ‘the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry’.
Such has been the challenge for the Audi FIS Cross Alps Tour with bad conditions having affected the Ski Cross World Cups in the first three locations (Montafon, Arosa and Val Thorens), that better race weather is now high on the athletes’ wish list.
NSWIS Ski Cross athletes Sami Kennedy-Sim, currently ranked 11th in the world, and Anton Grimus, ranked 37th, are among those hoping for kinder skies in Innichen, Italy for the fourth World Cup tour stop.
Coach Shawn Fleming agreed that the start to this season has been challenging but that conditions were looking good going forward.
“Italy is looking great, although I don’t want to jinx us!” Fleming said. “The weather forecast is looking fairly stable especially compared to what we have had to deal with so far through the Cross Alps Tour.”
“The track is ready and our first day of training is tomorrow.”
Mentally preparing for race day for events to then be called off presents its own set of challenges.
“Everything has been challenging thus far in the season in regards to creating any normalcy or finding some momentum,” Fleming said.
“It has been a season of ‘hurry up and wait’. At the end of the day we know and accept this as a part of outdoor winter sport and all athletes and nations are affected equally.”
“We try are best to prepare the athletes for the long days of waiting on hill and making sure they have strategies to pass the time although it then becomes a challenge to ‘fire up’ after long hours waiting.”
“Montafon was a very unique event due to scheduling and weather and in the end the entire event consisted of one training run and then straight in to heats with no qualification.”
“All-in-all it was three hours on one morning and very challenging on athletes to perform with such little time to adjust to the track.”
Anton Grimus, who is looking for Olympic qualification points and to build his confidence after losing much of last season, is happy so far and was able to begin strongly at Val Thorens last week in the eight-final.
“Anton’s knee has been holding up quite well and he is definitely been able to preform day in and day out,” coach Shawn Fleming advised. “He is being treated regularly by our physio to make sure no sneaky issues arise and so far things are looking very positive.”
Sochi Olympian Kennedy-Sim, who has regularly been inside the six in World Cups – including a silver in Sweden earlier this year, is after race readiness to fine tune the necessary split-second decisions, saying she “can’t wait to get back in the start gate”.
Two back-to-back World Cups will be raced in Innichen, with qualification for Ladies and Men scheduled for Wednesday, 20 December then finals on 21 December and again on 22 December.
You can follow the live updates HERE and on OWIA’s Twitter account HERE. Eurosport will be broadcasting the Innichen Ski Cross World Cups on 21 December at 11.30pm (AEDT) and 22 December at 11.30pm (AEDT).
There was more bad luck lined up for the 2017 FIS Ski Cross Alps Tour on Tuesday night in Arosa (SUI), as the second competition in a row was forced to be cancelled due to the inclement weather that has been hovering over the Alps for the past week.
The qualification round for the Arosa competition took place in the early afternoon on Tuesday after heavy winds forced the its postponement from Monday. And though that successful qualification round and a spirited public heat selection soon after it carried great promise into the evening, the sudden onset of a heavy snowfall threw everything that the organizers and officials could handle, and more, and after four challenging heats of the men’s eight finals the decision was made to call off the rest of the competition.
However, because the qualification phase of the competition was completed successfully for both men and ladies, according to FIS rules a final result was able to be rewarded to based on the qualification rankings.
The rankings from qualification saw NSWIS athletes Sami Kennedy-Sim in 11th place with team-mate Anton Grimus in 37th place.
After two Cross Alps events, Kennedy-Sim is in 11th place and Grimus 33rd place on the tour standings.
From Arosa, the 2017 FIS Ski Cross Alps tour moves on quickly to Montafon (AUT), where the next competition of the tour is slated to take place on Friday 15 December.
Australia's NSWIS ski cross duo, Anton Grimus and Sami Kennedy-Sim are ready fly out of the gates in Arosa tomorrow as the second leg of the Cross Alps Tour gets underway.
After the second Val Thorens World Cup event was cancelled due to heavy weather conditions over the weekend, the pair are eager and ready to race at the Switzerland edition of the circuit, with valuable Olympic qualification points on the line.
“I’m here to make some points for Olympic qualification because last year was a write-off pretty much," Sochi Olympian Anton Grimus said, who has returned to competition following a serious knee injury last season.
"I’ve just got to get that confidence going now in every run I do, every day [that] goes past I get more confidence and, at the end of the day, that’s what separates the top guys I think … being confident in your skiing ability.”
Also hungry to make her second Olympic appearance, Sami Kennedy-Sim said the best way to improve her race conditioning was to get out there and line up with the world's best.
“The best training for racing is racing," said Kennedy-Sim who was "chomping at the bit" to get out there and race at Val Thorens.
"You can’t reproduce the atmosphere or the stress without going to a race. We’ve got some important races this year and a busy next couple of weeks as well.
"To start the season off this way is not necessarily great but it’s definitely not a detriment either,” she said on the cancelled races in France.
The 29-year-old said she "can’t wait to get back in the start gate... two days off racing is too much," on her instagram account, signalling she means business heading into Olympic season.
The next stage of the 2017 Cross Alps Tour kicks off Tuesday, December 12, with an exciting nighttime sprint format competition slated to get underway under the lights at 20:15 local time (6:15am Wednesday AEST).
Australia’s Sami Kennedy-Sim and Anton Grimus have ranked 11th and 20th respectively following the first day of the FIS Ski Cross World Cup Cross Alps Tour in Val Thorens, France.
After narrowly missing out on progressing through to the semi-finals and placing third in her quarterfinal, Kennedy-Sim said the start to the season hadn’t been “necessarily great but it’s definitely not a detriment either”.
“The best training for racing is racing, you can’t reproduce the atmosphere or the stress without going to a race,” she said.
“Unfortunately for some reason I had an absolute muck up and thought that I was somewhere else in the course and made a mistake that cost me going through and I almost pulled it back but not quite.
“I’ll take a top 12 and enjoy a day off tomorrow and rest my knee and hopefully get to race on Saturday.”
While training on the course on Wednesday afternoon, Kennedy-Sim had a “little training crash”.
“I kind of was just playing it all by ear and taking every sound as they came,” she said.
“Obviously the first round of that is going skiing in the morning and I felt OK skiing so I started training, training was smooth.
“It wasn’t really painful outside of the start features and a technical part in the bottom of the course.”
Grimus was at the front of the pack in his eighth final after a powerful start but ended up placing third after running “a bit wide”. Nevertheless, the Sochi Olympian said that he gave it his all “and made a pretty good effort of it”.
“Out of the start I gave it to them,” he said.
“I was right out there and I’ve been working on my starts a lot because in the past it’s something that I’ve lacked in and I got the start down.
“And then my speed kicked in which I’ve always had and I was out in front and tried to defend and had to run a different line to what I was used to so on the first negative I ran a bit wide which allowed the other guys to get in, so I was in second.”
The 26-year-old added that fellow competitor, Frenchman Jean Frederic Chapuis -- whom the course in Val Thorens is named after -- “skied brilliantly” during their race.
“He went out wide and went from third to first and showed us how it’s done,” he said.
“You know, it’s a positive day all in all, I’ve done some quick skiing and I’ve got the speed, my starts are quick so it’s just another step in the right direction building my confidence.”
At the end of the day, confidence is what is most important heading into a race – indeed it’s “what separates the top guys”, according to Grimus.
Kennedy-Sim and Grimus have a busy next couple of weeks as the World Cup Cross Alps Tour moves on to Arosa, Switzerland for a night time sprint event which is then followed by races in Montafon, Austria.
The Tour then concludes in Innichen, Italy on December 22 with a back-to-back two-race finale.
With Friday’s races being brought forward to Thursday due to the threat of an incoming winter storm, the pair will compete again in Val Thorens on Saturday.
You can follow the live updates HERE and on OWIA’s Twitter account HERE.
The FIS Ski Cross World Cup Cross Alps Tour kicks off in France this week and Australia’s Anton Grimus and Sami Kennedy-Sim are raring to go.
The pair’s training during the offseason has “been really good” according to coach Shawn Fleming, who added that he believed “we were able to tick everything off the list that we were hoping to focus on”.
“That is a good feeling coming in to December knowing that you haven’t missed any key sections of your training plan and hopefully this translates to fast skiing on the track,” he said.
Val Thorens plays host to the first races of the season and for Kennedy-Sim and Grimus it’s “where the first real test happens against all the other nations”.
“The beginning of the season is always exciting because they are happy to be back in the race environment, but there are lots of unknowns surrounding the first race,” Fleming said.
“We get to train with most of the other nations at some point in the offseason but training is training.”
The Cross Alps Tour sees athletes compete in Val Thorens, then on to Arosa, Switzerland for a night time sprint event which is then followed by races in Montafon, Austria.
The Tour then concludes in Innichen, Italy on December 22 with a back-to-back two-race finale.
With such a jam-packed schedule, it’s important that our Aussies are just as fit mentally as they are physically.
“It’s a very tight schedule which can be very physically and mentally demanding to get through,” Fleming said.
“Obviously this sport takes strength to manage the loads in the fast turns and also the landings of the jumps. A great strength and conditioning program in the offseason goes a long way to keeping them healthy during the busy race schedule where sometimes rest is hard to come by.
“Mental strength in this sport is everything, you are racing at high speeds through lots of terrain with three other people in close proximity all trying to be the fastest down the hill, so confidence and self-belief are key.
Just days out from the first race of the season, Kennedy-Sim and Grimus will have their first opportunity to train on the track in Val Thorens where the focus will be “getting comfortable” and “building that confidence to take into the coming days”.
“Once the Cross Alps tour begins though you are in such a bubble of competition that you really start to build from day-to-day and track-to-track,” Fleming said.
“That is our goal in the coming weeks: to use the schedule and feed off it to boost confidence and create some real momentum in terms of performance.”
The 2017 FIS Audi Ski Cross World Cup Cross Alps Tour takes place from the 7th – 9th December in Val Thorens, France. You can check in for live updates HERE and also on OWIA’s Twitter account.
Sochi Olympian Sami Kennedy-Sim looks the epitome of ‘under-control’ heading into the PyeongChang Winter Games, relaxed and smiling with an aura of Australian spirit and pride.
The Ski Cross athlete is fresh off a two-week stint in Saas-Fee, Switzerland, where she was surrounded by Australian teammates and Olympic Champions, also looking for success come February.
“I was there alongside our snowboard cross athlete Belle Brockhoff and also had some really good training with the Canadian team who have the current Olympic gold and silver medallists,” said Kennedy-Sim.
“It was really invaluable for me to go and make the most of the experience.”
But it was the off-snow bond that formed between Kennedy-Sim and Brockhoff that allowed the pair to stay relaxed and enjoy the intense training block.
“It was so great for me to train with Belle and have somebody to have some a little bit of respite with in the afternoons,” said the 29-year-old who spent her down time creating hilarious content on social media.
“If you've seen our Instagram feeds you know we had a fun couple of weeks recreating people's silly Instagram videos and stay tuned for more - there will definitely be more!”
“It does get a little bit lonely on this competitive road, so to have somebody who's also trying to better themselves all the time and is eyeing similar goals to you but isn't necessarily your direct competition was so good to be around.
Fellow Sochi Olympian Brockhoff also spent a few weeks in Saas Fee and said having a familiar Australian face around made the training environment feel like home.
"We have known each other for a while now so we hung out almost every afternoon," Brockhoff said.
"Most of the time we found ourselves laughing, sometimes on the ground with our abs hurting- at the silly things we did and filmed alot of it on social. When I'm with a good mate, I feel really comfortable and do silly stuff."
Melbourne-native, Brockhoff also echoed that having a training partner from a different sport made her a better athlete on the mountain.
"At the same time, it was awesome to have a team mate there, regardless of Sami doing Ski Cross. She works hard in training and is continually bettering herself," said the 23-year-old.
"Its always refreshing to have that energy around your training camp. It gives you more motivation. I'm really excited the next time we are in the same resort!"
Manly-native Kennedy-Sim also found inspiration from Brockhoff's major knee injury which she worked hard to rehabiltate earlier this year as well as a number of other injuries among PyeongChang hopefuls.
“I'm absolutely motivated by our whole team who have had some massive injuries in this last year, coming into the Olympics which isn't necessarily ideal.
“It shows people our true colours as athletes and we've got some strong people in winter sports, so it is really motivating for me to have these sorts of people around me.”
Kennedy-Sim was joined by fellow Australians, World Champion Scotty James (Snowboard Halfpipe) and Russ Henshaw (Snowboard slopestyle) which made the training environment feel just like home.
She said the strength of the Australian Team heading into the 2018 Olympics is pushing her towards her best Olympic performance.
“I'm so proud to be part of this, women dominant, winter sports team. The team is looking really successful coming into the games.
“You never know what's going to happen on the day and I know that everybody's working really hard to make sure that they can put their best performances down.
“Ultimately we do have a really strong team. We're Aussie, we're the underdogs and I'm really proud to be part of that.”
Kennedy-Sim said she learnt a lot from her Olympic debut experience in Sochi and training with the attitude that she can overcome anything thrown her way.
“I've been setting myself up to make sure that I can deal with whatever issues come up on a day to day basis.
“I can't predict that now in October but in February I'll be ready for anything.
The next four months for Kennedy-Sim will focus heavily on training following by six Ski Cross World Cup events before Christmas and another two in January.
After that it’s all systems go for PyeongChang 2018.
Injury is part and parcel of an elite sports career and often a circuit breaker that allows the athlete to refocus, build a stronger body and hone the mental skills necessary to succeed.
26-year-old Sochi Ski Cross Olympian Anton Grimus has learned that patience is a virtue after six meniscus surgeries to his right knee, the two latest in December 2016 and again last month.
“All is well,” Grimus said this week after completing his latest round of rehab. “I’ve learned patience. Stuff isn’t going to happen overnight and giving my knee time to fix itself has allowed me to focus on the finer points of rehab.”
“Knowing how your body works and moves is essential. I’m older and wiser about how I go about training now.”
With a return to snow scheduled for mid-August, Grimus spends the weekdays at the Victorian Institute of Sport training mornings and afternoons with OWIA strength and conditioning coach Will Morgan before heading home to Mt Buller on the weekends.
Grimus hits his mental reset button in the Victorian Alps as a keen lover of the bush and experienced trout fisherman. On the flip side, the competition stakes are high for the formidable looking ‘mountain man’ as an athlete on a mission.
“At times, it is frustrating because I just want to get out there and ski,” he said of being at home in Mt Buller most weekends. “It’s also good to have a break, sit back and focus on what you’re doing, why and where you are in your career.”
“I’m feeling better now than I was pre -op in June. The meniscus needed another clear out. If I do the work, take the time, it will all come together.”
Therefore, it’s back to patience but his sights are firmly set on PyeongChang next February for a better result than Sochi, where he finished 25th.
“I’m definitely more experienced and mentally mature (than prior to Sochi) and have a lot more information to build from,” he said.
In the meantime, Grimus’ competitive racing pulse has to be satisfied with an intense online PlayStation game of Battlefield with OWIA team mates Alex ‘Chumpy’ Pullin and Cam Bolton, which he says is “exhilarating”.
The winter season is officially underway with resorts expected to open early after a blast of snow and dropping temperatures but Australia’s female Ski Cross supremo Sami Kennedy-Sim is holding back from a quick trip to the snowy ranges this weekend – despite the urge to do so.
Coming off her most successful international season, where she captured her first World Cup medal claiming silver in Sweden plus four top ten finishes, Kennedy-Sim is currently focussed on strength and conditioning.
So much so that she has given up full-time work as a Winter Sports Administrator for the NSW Institute of Sport in Jindabyne and her growing fitness business ‘Team Sami’ to concentrate on the season ahead and the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang next February.
“I’m not working at all this year,” she explained. “I started training again this season at the beginning of April with John (Marsden – OWIA Head of Athlete Preparation) and all my time is spent on that.”
“Having the ability to focus solely on training is allowing me to introduce some new elements and techniques.”
“I’m able to put in the hard work,” she said after a session running and hopping up and down sand dunes on a northern Sydney beach.
“I was so tempted to go to the snow this first weekend but I won’t go until July. Being able to get onto snow is becoming a reward - like dangling a little cherry on a stick.
“This last two months is paying off and I’m feeling like I’m in really good shape. Recent testing has shown we are definitely on the right track.”
Australian Ski Cross head coach Shawn Fleming believes getting the work done early and building the base in this off-season period is critical.
“For Sami, it’s building on what she already had and continuing to make the work, work.”
“We did have a better season (2016/17) and it’s not always roses. There’s the work to be done and improving skills across the board.”
Those skills include the mental as well as physical in a sport where four racers go head to head and split-second decisions need to be made in pressure situations.
“A big part of my training program now is mental preparation alongside strength and conditioning. The split-second decision making is a focus which we’re practising in day to day life and it has made a difference.”
Kennedy-Sim cites achieving a happier outlook as one of the biggest changes so early this season.
“When I came home last Christmas after a particularly heavy racing period in December my mum said to me – “It would be nice to see you smile on TV.”
“I’d forgotten to stop and smell the roses and made a decision to embrace and enjoy more. Sometimes the results are not what you want but it’s important to take away the positives.”
“I started to realise how much I love this sport…… this crazy sport. It’s about loving your life.”
The close-knit Australian Ski Cross team is small but glued together.
Head coach Shawn Fleming is backed up by assistant coach Danny Geiger and ski technician Martin Palacios. Together with Ski Cross team-mate Anton Grimus the gang-of-five are mostly self-sufficient apart from visiting medical and support staff in Australia.
“We are a little team and do things a bit differently to other teams by making the most of the situations we’re in and taking something out of each day. Back home there’s John Marsden (physiologist) and Tom Hammond (psychologist). Having constant and open communication between all of us makes it work.”
“This season it’s all about managing expectations. I do get pretty excited and you have to be on your toes a lot. At the moment, I’m reminding myself it’s only the last day of May.”
If team work, dedication and a love of your sport is anything to go by Sami Kennedy-Sim and the Ski Cross team are heading in the right direction – even if it’s a bit sandy rather than snowy for another few weeks.
The penultimate day of competition at the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships saw Sami Kennedy-Sim and Anton Grimus in action in the men’s and women’s Ski Cross events.
With qualification and finals held back-to-back it was a big day of skiing and both athletes qualified for their respective finals but bowed out before the podium rounds.
Kennedy-Sim marginally missed a semi finals berth after finishing third in her quarter final.
“When you get to rounds of 16 in women it’s so different to qualifying,” Kennedy-Sim said.
“In qualifying you’re just skiing on your own and people like me who don’t always qualify fastest and have fast starts can throw a spanner in the works,” she said.
The Sochi Olympian said the conditions made passing attempts difficult.
“I thought for sure I was making the right move and almost forgot that there was five centimetres of soft slush on the side. I went straight into it and that was the end.
“Tricky track to pass on in these soft conditions, if it was firm it would have worked for sure.
“The reality is it’s the end of March and it’s been a tough couple of days so to be competitive in the quarter finals is a good outcome,” she said.
With a maiden World Cup podium under her belt this season, Kennedy-Sim is inspired to come back bigger and better in the crucial lead-in season to the 2018 Olympic Winter Games.
“I have a little break now when I get home and make sure I’m in better shape coming into next season,” she said.
“The aim is Korea and that’s looking really good right now. If I can get a few things sorted we should be even better next time.”
In the men’s event, Grimus didn’t get the start to competition he was after and admitted to making a few mistakes in qualifying.
In the round of 32 he finished fourth in his four man-heat.
“I felt really good yesterday in training and today I just missed a few things in qualifying,” Grimus said.
“I overshot a few things which slowed down my skiing. I tried to learn from that but didn’t quite nail it in the second run.
“It happens, I’ve had a tough season and I’m glad for it to be over now so I can get my knee right,” he said.
After a hectic World Cup schedule spanning 13 events in seven countries, Ski Cross athletes Anton Grimus and Sami Kennedy-Sim have one competition before season end – the 2017 FIS Freestyle Ski and Snowboard World Championships.
A knee injury has interrupted Grimus’ season but he’s gained momentum as the season’s progressed and the 26-year-old is hoping his form will continue into the World Championships.
“I’ve had a few events now and each event my knee’s gotten better and better and my skiing is getting more confident,” Grimus said.
The Sochi Olympian will be fulfilling a goal by starting at these World Championships.
“My aim after hearing that my knee needed the operation was to get back for the World Championships and build up my performances to now,” he said.
“I haven’t had the ideal prep coming in, it’s a very different vibe to the last World Champs where I had no real injuries.
“I want the best result I can get and that’s obviously a podium but I know I am coming in underprepared in comparison to the last world champs.
"There’s no real pressure on myself, I’m going in there to give it my best result and that’s all I can do,” he said.
Grimus will use the off-season to rest his knee so it is ready to go for this all important Olympic year.
“Need a bit of a break with the knee as it hasn’t been perfect, having some time off after this event will definitely be beneficial for my knee.
“Once you have a knee injury you take it for granted just how good your knees are. To get back to the point where I can fully trust my knee will be awesome.”
Sami Kennedy-Sim finished the World Cup season ranked 12th, a result which was buoyed by her first ever podium result that came in Idre Fjall in Sweden where she finished second.
As one of only four Australians to win a Ski Cross World Cup podium, Kennedy-Sim rates it among her career highlights.
“I’ve done 80 plus World Cups and for that to happen this year was a pretty big deal,” Kennedy-Sim said.
“To go to Sweden and put into practice the little changes that me and the team have been making, it’s validated everything that’s happened so far. Showed that I am moving in the right direction. I’m really happy with how things have been going and I’ve carried that into the next few races and obviously the results weren’t the same but the focus and the strategy has always remained the same.
“We’re at the stage where we’re just trying to replicate things with precision so you’re in a good position to have hopefully another podium or many more,” she said.
Kennedy-Sim has high expectations of herself for the World Championships and is hoping to add to Australia’s five medal haul from the event.
“I’m really happy with how it’s been going and I’m happy to continue that momentum hopefully this weekend at the pinnacle event for us of the season.
“Hoping I can rise to the challenge and follow suit in the way the rest of the Aussie team have been doing, everyone’s been doing really well. It’d be nice to slot in there and add a little sweetener at the end,” she said.
Ski Cross qualifying and finals will be held Saturday. Final events will be lived streamed at: https://www.skiandsnowboard.org.au/2017-snowboard--freestyle-world-champs/
With the World Championships just under two weeks away, Sami Kennedy-Sim has achieved a confidence boosting fifth place performance at the final World Cup event of the season in Blue Mountain, Canada.
With only the top-16 women and top-32 men invited to competed at the final World Cup event, the worlds best were keen to finish the season on a high and improve their end of season ranking.
In the round of 16 quarter final stage, Kenendy Sim advanced to the semi final's after placing second. She then narrowly missed advancing to the medal round final four after placing third in the semi final.
Fueled by her "big final" near miss, Kennedy-Sim lead from start to finish in the "small final" consultation final to finish the event in fifth place.
The result saw Kennedy-Sim finish the season ranked 12th on the World Cup standings, almost tying her previous best season end ranking of 11th in 2012.
After the Race OWIA Ski Cross Head Coach Shawn Fleming commented.
"Sami was having a good semi-final sitting in second through the bottom section, but a series of small mistakes opened the door for Canadian Britt Phelan, and she took advantage making the pass on the last jump.
"Sami was obviously frustrated with her mistake costing her a trip to a big final and this fired her up and she destroyed the field in the small final winning from the start and never looked back."
NSWIS team-mate Anton Grimus collected valuable Olympic qualification points with a 24th place finish after narrowly missing qualification through to the round of 16.
"Anton is still working back from his knee injury and while he went out in the first round he skied his heat quite well, especially through the start section", Fleming said.
"Unfortunately one of the Italians stayed close behind him and was able to use Anton in the last turn to get a bit of a slingshot and was able to make the pass at the finish line by the length of his hand."
The OWIA Ski Cross program now heads back to Europe for a few days on snow before heading to Sierra Nevada, Spain, for the World Championships on March 18.
IMAGE: Sami Kennedy-Sim (right) in action at Blue Mountain © FIS Freestyle