In his first full World Cup season, Reece Howden made a big splash! Standing on six podiums, winning four races, being voted FIS Rookie of the Year, and to top it all off, he won the men’s ski cross Crystal Globe. Very impressive for a guy who one year ago was finishing up his degree at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology while training and competing.
“I was trying to do the best that I could. After Val Thorens in December, when I got a couple podiums I realized there was a possibility if I kept skiing well that I could win the Globe. It is just amazing, I am super blessed and excited,” Reece said after receive the Crystal Globe in Veysonnaz, SUI on Sunday.
The Crystal Globe is awarded to the athletes with the most overall race points, which Reece impressively secured three races before the end of the season after a dominant start to the season. Reece was also named FIS Rookie of the Year, an award that is voted on by competitors and which many Canadian Ski Cross Team members have been awarded in the past, most recently Courtney Hoffos who won it last season.
“It was an amazing season. I had a lot of fun, learned a lot and had a great time with the whole team.”
Reece is the second Canadian man to bring home the big prize, following in teammate Kevin Drury’s footsteps last season. Kevin, who has been recovering from injury for most of the season was remarkable in the COVID-19 shortened 2019-20 season.
Marielle Thompson, who suffered an injury in training before the second to last race of the year, finished in third in the cup standings.
“It’s a bittersweet feeling to hang on to third place in the overall World Cup, I’m proud of the skiing I did this year to earn that spot but disappointed to be ending the season injured,” Marielle said after watching the final race of the season.
This season for the Canadian Ski Cross Team was one that no one will soon forget. From staying healthy during the pandemic, dealing with injuries, and the amount of time spent away from home it was certainly a challenge but the team had some impressive successes regardless. Return to competition, first-time podiums, and personal bests for many Canadians continues to set this team a part from their competition.
“It was a difficult season with some personal successes, but it was tough for the Canadians being on the road so long. Everyone had great attitudes, always willing to learn and looking to get better. A big congratulations to the whole team, the coaching staff, ski techs, all our IST and everyone involved in the program. We’re hungry and ready for next year,” Head Coach Stanley Hayer said after the final race of the season.
As this season comes to a close the team will head back to Canada for some rest before refocusing on what will be another important year for the dominant team.