Remme and Radamus crowned NorAm champions
Every winter, ski resorts in the U.S. and Canada host NorAm Cup races to determine the best skiers from North America. This season, Loveland, Lake Louise, Panorama, Stowe, Whiteface, Copper, and Kimberley organized the 56 events in downhill (6), super-G (12), alpine combined (6), giant slalom (16) and slalom (16).
The Overall winner on both the ladies’ and men’s sides qualify for all the events on the World Cup Tour for the following season. The two first athletes in each discipline standing from the continent also get a personal qualification for the World Cup in the respective discipline.
In 2017/18, Roni Remme (CAN) dominated on the ladies’ side, finishing the season with a total of 1,174 points and the win in two disciplines. She was more than 240 points ahead of her two closest contenders, American Nina O’Brian and Mikaela Tommy of Canada.
The 22-year-old Canadian skier Remme clinched her Overall win thanks to excellent results in downhill, super-G, and also slalom. She started very strong in the season with her first World Cup starts in Lake Louise followed by four straight wins in the speed disciplines and two further slalom wins on the NorAm circuit. Those good results gave her the opportunity to participate in more World Cups and score a career-best 11th place in the slalom in Zagreb. She also made her debut at the Olympic Winter Games, with a 27th place in slalom and a 23rd place in downhill. Returning to the NorAms in Copper Mountain (USA) and for the finals in Kimberley (CAN), she was able to score enough points to maintain her lead in the Overall and also grab the victory in downhill and super-g. She also finished second in the alpine combined ranking.
Three other women claimed their personal qualifications in the speed disciplines. Canadian Valerie Grenier, sixth in the Olympic alpine combined, grabbed her first NorAm title after finishing as runner-up in the 2015 Overall ranking. Stefanie Fleckenstein, also from Canada, finished in second place in the season’s downhill standings thanks to her three podiums out of three races and will be able to race for her first World Cup points next season. O’Brien, second in the Overall standings, was also second in the super-g ranking for a second year in a row. The current U.S. National Champion in slalom and super-G podiumed three times in NorAm super-Gs this season.
In giant slalom, the spotlight was on 2013 standings winner Tommy. With three victories and three further podiums out of the six races she participated in, the Canadian claimed her personal qualification for next season’s World Cup tour in giant slalom. Adriana Jelinkova from the Netherlands was second in the giant slalom rankings but is ineligible for a World Cup spot through NorAms due to her nationality, so 18-year-old AJ Hurt from the Squaw Valley Ski Team earned the qualification spot despite finishing third in the standings.
After winning the NorAm title in giant slalom last season, Amelia Smart from Canada claimed the slalom title this season. No win but her four podiums and three further top-six places (out of eight races) were enough to clinch the title. She was followed by American Lila Lapanja, who won the slalom title in 2014 and 2016. The skier from Lake Tahoe could celebrate only one podium at the finals, but her consistent finishes all inside the top seven this season paid off.
A very tight battle for the Overall title concluded with River Radamus taking the win on the men’s side. The three-time Youth Olympic Games Champion at Lillehammer 2016 (GS, SG, AC) and three-time National Junior Champion (SL 2015, SG 2016, SG 2018) made a big step forward on the international stage this season by winning his first NorAm races and starting in his first World Cup races as well.
The young American from Ski & Snowboard Club Vail grabbed the Overall NorAm title without claiming a discipline ranking. However, he was runner-up in slalom behind American World Cup skier Mark Engel. Two podiums early in the season and two victories at the finals were enough for the Sugar Bowl Ski Team alumnus to finish atop the slalom standings.
For the third year in a row, Canadian national team skier James "Jack" Crawford (originally from Whistler Mountain Ski Club) finished within the top three of the NorAm Overall Cup, but for the first time he was finally able to also win a title. The 21-year-old won the super-G and downhill standings, never skiing out of the top seven in either speed disciplines and scoring two wins and a podium (SG) and one win and a podium (DH). Also in the alpine combined, he claimed a personal qualification spot by finishing second.
In those disciplines, three other athletes were also in the spotlight this season. Jeffrey Read, son of famed former racer Ken Read and brother of current World Cup skier Erik Read, finished second in the downhill standings after starting with a 20th place on home soil in Lake Louise before improving to second place and a win in Copper. Canadian Sam Mulligan was the runner-up in the super-G standings thanks to his win in Lake Louise and two further podiums. He had the honor of making his World Cup debut this season in Kitzbuehel. In alpine combined, the 2017 downhill Junior World Champion Sam Morse of the U.S. Ski Team walked away with the title thanks to a win and two second places in that many races this season.
Brian McLaughlin of Dartmouth College dominated giant slalom this season with three wins and a second-place finish. The 24-year-old 2018 NCAA GS Champion earned his first Continental Cup title, punching his ticket to the World Cup circuit next season.