The winter Olympic sports season is here
This weekend is packed with skiing, skating and snowboarding events
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It's the first day of December, and the winter Olympic sports season is hitting us like an early snowfall. Here are the key events to watch this weekend:
Alpine skiing: Canada's only World Cup stop
After a long absence, the alpine World Cup returns to Mont-Tremblant for a pair of women's giant slalom races on Saturday and Sunday. The Quebec resort is replacing Alberta's Lake Louise, which was dropped from the circuit after a decades-long run.
The Canadian to watch is local favourite Valérie Grenier, who won a gold and a bronze in giant slaloms last season and has finished in the top seven four straight times.
The top men's ski racers are at Colorado's Beaver Creek for what they hope is the first downhill of the season. The original opener in Switzerland last month was cancelled due to bad weather, and today's race was nixed too. They'll try it again Saturday, followed by a super-G on Sunday.
Canada's Jack Crawford is coming off an excellent season in which the 2022 Olympic bronze medallist in the combined event reached three World Cup podiums and won the super-G world title. Cameron Alexander is also a medal threat after taking bronze in the downhill at the world championships.
Alpine Canada said today that men's racer Broderick Thompson suffered head injuries but was "alert" and in "stable" condition after crashing during a downhill training run on Wednesday.
Speed skating: World Cup shifts to Europe
After a week off following the season-opening Asian leg, the World Cup tour resumed today in Norway. Defending women's mass start champion Ivanie Blondin missed the podium for the first time this season in her signature event after winning gold and silver in the previous two races. But fellow Canadian Valérie Maltais took silver, her second solo medal of the season. The meet continues Saturday and Sunday.
Canadian star Isabelle Weidemann is sitting out the World Cup's two European stops to rest for the North American leg, which begins in January and leads into the world championships in Calgary in February. Weidemann won a medal of each colour at the 2022 Olympics and last year captured the women's team pursuit world title with Blondin and Maltais.
Freestyle skiing: The King returns
Moguls GOAT Mikael Kingsbury launches a new World Cup season Saturday in Finland, where the Canadian will try to add to his record 80 World Cup victories. Kingsbury won his 11th moguls season title last season and captured the world title for the fourth time to go along with his Olympic gold from 2018 (he's also won several titles in the non-Olympic dual moguls).
The aerials World Cup season opener happens Sunday in Finland, where Canada's Marion Thénault will try to build on her four medals from last season, which included a gold. For more on the top moguls and aerials athletes, watch this video:
WATCH | Thénault among big names in upcoming moguls, aerials seasons:
Other events to watch:
* Nineteen-year-old ski jumping star Alexandria Loutitt makes her World Cup season debut in Norway. Last winter, Loutitt became the first Canadian to capture a ski jumping world title and the first Canadian woman to win an individual World Cup competition. She was also part of Canada's first-ever Olympic ski jumping medal, a bronze in the mixed team event in 2022 in Beijing. Read more about her in this story by CBC Sports' Devin Heroux.
* The World Cup snowboard cross season gets underway in France with men's and women's events on Saturday and a team competition Sunday. 2022 Olympic double bronze medallist Meryeta O'Dine is returning from a broken leg that cost her all of last season, while Eliot Grondin (also a double medallist at the Beijing Olympics) tries to build on his third-place finish in last season's overall standings.
How to watch:
Many of the World Cup events mentioned above are streaming live on CBCSports.ca, the CBC Sports app and CBC Gem. Those platforms are also carrying the Penticton Curling Classic, featuring some of Canada's best men's teams.
The CBC TV network is featuring alpine and freestyle skiing as part of its winter sports coverage on Saturday and Sunday. See the full broadcast and streaming schedules here.