IDRE FJALL, Sweden — Canada's Marielle Thompson passed two competitors in the final straightaway to earn silver in a ski-cross World Cup event on Saturday.
Thompson, from Whistler, B.C., passed eventual bronze-medallist Fanny Smith from Switzerland and Sweden's Lisa Andersson, but couldn't catch race-winner Heidi Zacher of Germany.
This is Thompson's 34th career-podium on the World Cup circuit.
"The conditions were pretty challenging with a lot of wind and aggressive, slow snow, so we had to make some adjustments," said Thompson. "But I skied really well in every heat and managed to be patient in the final where I was fourth going into the final straightaway. I'm looking forward to tomorrow's race and hopefully make an improvement on second."
The course at Idre Fjalls, Sweden, is known for having the biggest jumps on the circuit. The leader out of the start rarely wins at the finish because of passing upsets in the straightaway that Thompson leveraged. Wind also played a factor in the race and the qualifier, which impacted the men's seeding and was postponed to race-day altogether for the women.
"The draft here in Idre Fjalls is quite big; once you're behind the person breaking the wind in front you can be patient and wait for your moment to pass, because when you're behind someone, you're going really fast. It really showed today in every heat," said Thompson.
Brittany Phelan of Mont-Tremblant, Que., and teammate Kelsey Serwa of Kelowna, B.C., battled through to the semifinal runs where they each finished third to earn a spot in the small final. Phelan won the small final, good for fifth, while Serwa finished 7th.
India Sherret of Cranbrook, B.C., Edmonton's Abby McEwen and Mikayla Martin of Squamish, B.C., finished 11th, 13th and 20th respectively.
On the men's side, the wind that forced the postponement of the women's qualification to Saturday made for a tough battle for the men's qualification. Only Montreal's Chris Del Bosco, Calgary's Brady Leman and Toronto's Kevin Drury competed in the eights, with none able to move forward.
Del Bosco was the top Canadian, finishing 20th, while Leman and Drury landed in 22nd and 28th respectively. Zach Belczyk of Banff, Alta., and Kevin MacDonald of Mississauga, Ont., were 37th and 41st.