Hugh Heads to Nakiska for Heart-pounding Action of Ski Cross

Written by: Hugh Burrill, Sporting Life Brand Ambassador

Close your eyes and imagine you’re skiing down a steep, icy slope as fast as you can.

Imagine this slope has sharp, high banked corners and large ramps that you’ll hurl yourself off of, into the air and land (hopefully) on your skis, to continue your descent.

Now, imagine there’s another skier just centimeters away trying to get down the hill even faster than you.

Now, imagine another skier on your other side trying to do the same thing.

And one more for good measure.

Can you picture it?

Welcome to the chaotic world of ski cross: One course and four skiers!

Back in November, I experienced my first World Cup downhill race at Lake Louise. It was incredible. The raw speed of those athletes as they blasted by me at 140-kph was a sight to behold and unlike anything else I’ve experienced throughout my long career in sports broadcasting.

But ski cross is something else entirely!

It’s the “new kid on the block” on the world cup circuit, introduced in 2004 and it’s been part of the Olympics since 2010 when Calgary’s Brady Leman (aka “The Wombat”) won gold in Pyeongchang after just missing the podium four years previous in Sochi.

But it’s on the women’s side where Canada has really flexed its ski cross muscles: Three Olympics and three gold medals; Ashleigh McIvor in 2010, Marielle Thompson in 2014 and Kelsey Serwa in 2018 to go along with her silver medal from four years before.

Follow along with the Sporting Life social channels this weekend at Nakiska as I experience the final ski cross before these athletes head to Beijing where they’re expected to dominate once again.

Enjoy the (barely) controlled chaos.