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Catching up with Reece Howden
© GEPA

Canadian young gun Reece Howden from British Columbia was definitely the most dominant male athlete on last year’s Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup tour. Completing his first full World Cup season, at the end of it he held a ski cross crystal globe and a “male rookie of the year” award in his hands. We were curious about Reece’s memories on last season, but also on his outlook on the next one. Here is what he had to say…

Reece, in total you had 20 World Cup starts in your young career. 7 podiums, of which you made 6 in your very first complete World Cup season, which was last year. These podiums earned you your very first Overall SX Crystal Globe, and on top of that you were also the first male athlete to additionally win the “Male rookie of the year” award in the same year. Looking back on these achievements, how did you manage to perform so strongly last season and what is going through your mind remembering all of this?

A big part of the success from last year was due to my pre-season prep.  Prior to the 2021 season I was fully enrolled in university finishing a diploma which I finished in May 2020. This allowed me to dedicate all my time to preparing for my first full season.  Second, it was just perfect timing, coming out of the pre-season camps I was skiing really fast and I just carried that onto the World Cup.

Which moment of last season was your favourite one?

My favorite moment from last season was my back-to-back victories in Idre Fjall.  I felt like I was on top of the world and so confident.

Your performance at the World Champs in Idre was pretty strong as well, you finished fifth. Is racing at a major event like World Champs different than on the regular World Cup?

I would have to say yes, not because the race itself is different but because the athletes, staff and race officials treat it that way.  Personally, I try to treat it like any other race and ignore the excess. 

Speaking of major events – we are entering the season of the Olympic Winter Games, which will be your first ones that you will compete in. Is preparing for a season with Olympic Winter Games different, than for a regular season?

I guess it depends. For me, because I have had great success on the World Cup, I will want to maintain that mindset and just carry the energy from the World Cup directly on the Olympics.  I am treating this season the same as last season.

After such a successful season like the one 2020/21, what are your goals set for the upcoming one and of course also for Beijing 2022?

Consistence and improvement, although my last year was amazing there are definitely areas and room for improvement.  I want to maintain the good aspects of my skiing while improving the weaker areas.  Always chasing perfection.

Oh, and win an Olympic medal ...*haha*

Last year, the mixed-team racing format made its debut to the World Cup stage in Bakuriani (GEO) in form of a test event. What do you think of the mixed-team event? Do you like it?

Theoretically it’s a great idea but in practice it fell short.  The biggest downside being not every country has a male and female athlete to pair together to compete.  That being said it is an unique event and yes it should still be used but not more than once or twice a year.

What was/ is the biggest challenge for you, when competing during a worldwide pandemic?

Travel!!! Traveling and dealing with quarantines was exhausting and stole away a lot of days.  I spent over 60 days in quarantine.  Also, the worry of contracting the virus and missing races that could cost me the overall was concerning.

Who is your biggest challenge to race against on the World Cup circuit and why?

Honestly, if I had to list names the list would be 32 long. Competition is stiff and I treat all my competitors like a threat because all they need is a good day and they could win.  You can’t take anyone for granted on the circuit.

The Canadian team is on the road even more than for instance European teams, since travelling back and forth is often too time consuming and too expensive. What do you miss the most when travelling with the circuit?

Canada, you know. Yes, I was born there and grew up there. But I have traveled all over the world and there is no place I would rather be than British Columbia, Canada.  It’s in my blood and it’s in my heart and soul.

10) Name three things you never travel without on the World Cup circuit?

1 - Peanut butter

2 - Cowboy boots

3 - An open mind


So, to summarize the interview, one thing is for sure: Reece Howden is going to give full gas entering the Olympic season and we cannot wait to witness that!

You can find the full Audi FIS Ski Cross World Cup calendar HERE. And make sure to come back to our website and our social media channels more frequently, as we will be updating those pages as we approach the season kick-off. Get HYPED!!!

 
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