‘A little bit of fearlessness doesn’t hurt’

Kitchener’s Liz Filiatrault aims for podium finish in ski cross at FISU Winter World University Games. Wilfrid Laurier and Waterloo also sending representatives to January competitions in Lake Placid

By Mark Bryson Record Reporter

Thu., Dec. 29, 2022

KITCHENER — For the second time in less than a year, ski cross newcomer Liz Filiatrault will represent Canada on the world stage.

The Kitchener native, a third-year commerce student at the University of Calgary, is a member of the Canadian team that will compete at next month’s FISU Winter World University Games in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Filiatrault, a KCI alumna, is one of eight people with ties to Waterloo Region who will participate in the 30th edition of the biennial event.

“I’m hoping I make it to big finals, I want to make it to the podium, and I think I have a shot,” said the 21-year-old Filiatrault.

“We have raced this venue, on this track before, and this is where I had my first win last year, so I’m really excited about it.”

Ski cross is an action-packed downhill race that pits four skiers against each other, competing simultaneously, in a race to the finish line. Racers must navigate sharp turns, big jumps and one another in the high-speed race that occasionally leads to spectacular spills. The sport made its Olympic debut at the 2010 Games in Vancouver and has been rising in popularity ever since.

Filiatrault was introduced to ski cross five years ago by a friend but didn’t compete in her first FIS-sanctioned event until January 2020. The former alpine skier recorded her first win in February 2022, and that resulted in a spot on the Canadian team that travelled to Switzerland the following month for the FIS freestyle junior world championship.

“Having an alpine background definitely helps, being able to generate speed on the turns, and a little bit of fearlessness doesn’t hurt either,” said Filiatrault.

“You’re just trying to go as fast as you can.”

Filiatrault is visiting friends and family over the holiday break and will return to Calgary early in the new year. She has one competition scheduled for Alberta — at Gore Mountain, where she took top spot last February — before heading to the FISU Games that run from Jan. 12 to 22.

Regardless of how she performs at the FISU Games, Filiatrault plans on sticking with the sport in hopes of making the senior national team.

“Women tend to peak really late in ski cross, around the ages of 28 to 30, so I hope to stick with it a while, at least while I’m going to university, and the goal is to make the national team within the next two to three years,” she said.

Meanwhile, the Canadian women’s hockey team includes two players from the No. 8 nationally ranked Waterloo Warriors, defender Carley Bossé-Olivier of Sudbury and Leah Herrfort of Palmerston, as well as Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks head coach Kelly Paton, who will serve as an assistant coach. University of Waterloo athletic therapist Jacqueline Schwantz and equipment manager Matt Sinclair are also part of the squad.

Herrfort, a third-year arts and business major, leads the Ontario conference in scoring with 10 goals and 11 assists in 14 games. The former Cambridge Rivulettes standout played NCAA Division 1 hockey at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., before joining the Warriors.

Bossé-Olivier is a graduate student who previously skated for the Laurentian Voyageurs. She is the top-scoring defender in Ontario with two goals and 10 assists.

Wilfrid Laurier will be represented in the men’s snowboarding competition by the Toronto trio of Adam Farber, Jacob Farber and Andrew Behan.

Original Article