The first phase of Nordic Combined competition is now complete. Canada sent a large team, consisting of two women and three men, to the four Continental Cup events in Steamboat Springs CO, on Dec. 14 and 15, 2018 and Park City, UT, on Dec. 19 and 20, 2018.
Canada’s team was lead by former Canadian Nordic Combined Athlete Wesley Savill, who would act as the head coach for the events. Coming out of retirement after nine years, Meaghan Reid was the first Canadian female athlete to start in a Nordic Combined Continental Cup. Reid was able to end the jumping in 13th place while maintaining the position after the race to earn a total of 20 points. On the men’s side, the young veteran Nathaniel Mah (23) was able to land a solid jump to start the race in 12th out of the 52 male athletes. Unfortunately, he was unable to finish the race in the points and ended in 36th place.
First time Continental cup skiers Stephane Tremblay and Noah Rolseth were among the youngest athletes to start the competition. Both showed lots of promise ending the jumping in 35th position for Tremblay, and 47th for Rolseth. The two started the competition with the goal of earning experience and learning what it is like to compete among some of the top Nordic Combined Athletes in the world. Tremblay ended the day in 45th position followed closely by Rolseth in 47th.
Day 2 ended in the same result for Meaghan Reid in the 13th position, giving her a total of 40 continental cup points after the weekend. On the men’s side, Nathaniel Mah had another impressive day on the hill starting the race in 7th position, first time jumping into the top 10 for him. Again struggling in the race he finished the day in 34th position, just 20 seconds from the top 30. The two juniors finished the day in 37th for Rolseth, and 49th for Tremblay.
Next the team headed to Park City UT while swapping Meaghan Reid for two-time Olympic ski jumper Taylor Henrich. Henrich had been retired since the 2018 Olympics in Korea but decided to come out of retirement to try Nordic Combined. This proved to be the right decision for Henrich after she jumped into second place closely behind Germany’s Jenny Nowak. During the race, Henrich was only passed by USA’s Tara Geraghty Moats who would go on to win the event, just as she had done the first two Continental Cups of the season. After only being passed by Geraghty Moats, Henrich finished the race in third, making her the first Canadian Female athlete to podium in a Nordic Combined Continental Cup.
On the men’s side, the ski jumping proportion of the event was canceled due to strong wind conditions and the Provisional Competition Jump that was taken the day before would be used as a replacement. This meant Mah would start the race in 17th place, Tremblay in 41st, and Rolseth in 48th. It showed to be a better race for Mah as he finished the race in 32nd place in a sprint finish just 10 seconds out of 30th. Tremblay was able to finish the race for his top result of 44th place, with Rolseth again finishing in 47th.
The final day of competition in Park City ended up being a very dramatic day. The women’s favorited athlete, Tara Garaghty Moats, would sit out due to illness, leaving an opening for the top podium spot. Taylor Henrich took full advantage of this, finishing the jumping proportion in first place with a three second lead over Norway’s Gyda Hansen Westvold. Henrich and Westvold worked well together throughout the race with Henrich taking the lead in the final kilometer of the race. Unfortunately, Henrich took a fall on the last hill of the course opening the door to Westvold who took the win, and Nowak of Germany. Luckily Henrich was able to stay on the podium despite the fall finishing the race again in third place.
On the men’s side, Tremblay was unable to start the day due to fatigue. But Mah again showed his strength in the jumping portion and able to start the race in 13th place. He also improved his racing and finally was able to earn Continental Cup points with 29th place, putting Mah 36th on the World Ranking list. Rolseth also had a better day on both the hill and course. He started the race in 41st place and was able to finish the day with a personal best of 45th place.
Overall the Canadian Team had a great showing over the four days of competition. Both Canadian women showed they’re among the world’s best Nordic Combined Athletes, finishing on the podium and the top 13. Nathaniel Mah showed that the summer of training had a positive impact as he was able to earn Continental Cup points, a challenge that few former Canadian Nordic Combined athletes have been able to compete. There is also hope for the future of the sport with Stephan Tremblay and Noah Rolseth who showed lots of promise at such a young age.
Summary of Results:
Meaghan Reid: 13th, 13th
Taylor Henrich: 3rd, 3rd
Nathaniel Mah: 36th, 34th, 32nd, 29th,
Stephan Tremblay: 45th, 49th, 44th
Noah Rolseth: 47th, 47th, 47th, 45th