Squamish athlete skis up a storm

Mikayla Martin turns heads

Local athlete and Howe Sound Secondary alumni Mikayla Martin had a strong performance in her first World Cup Ski Cross appearance last weekend in Arosa, an alpine resort village in the Schanfigg Valley, in the Swiss region of Graubünden.

On Sunday, she placed third overall, ahead of the current World Cup Champion and the Olympic Gold and silver medallists. 

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In ski cross, only the fastest 16 women in the qualifying run move on to the quarter final races so Martin was in with a tough crowd. 

Her heat of four racers were packed in a tight bunch heading into the first corner but got squeezed out of her line and forced wide losing position and speed. 

Strong skiing on the rest of the course helped her gain ground but the shorter sprint length ended before she could catch the Top 2 and secure a place to move on to the semi-finals. 

Finishing third in her heat and her strong qualifying result kept her in 9th place overall earning 26 World Cup points, a reputation as a rising star and a hunger for even better results next week in Italy.

The Chief caught up with the athlete in an email conversation while she was preparting in Italy on Tuesday.

Q: How are you feeling about the result?

A: I am thrilled! I came into the race not sure if I was even going to qualify (top 16) for the final round, so to cross the finish and see the number 3 beside my name and then to come 9th in the race was extremely exciting.

Q: What was your favourite moment of the competition?

A: That’s an extremely difficult question. Probably crossing the finish line in qualify. As I said earlier I wasn’t even sure I was going to qualify, so to come down with such a fast run and hear my teammates cheering was amazing. To be honest my first thought was “that must be a mistake.”

Q: Describe what it took to prepare.

A: It’s hard to say what it took to prepare because honestly its been years and years of skiing and training. I switched to Ski Cross a year ago and ever since then it has been such a steep learning curve. Every day, I am trying to get a little faster or more comfortable with certain features. I spent about a month on snow this summer and another month prior to the race training in Europe.

Q: What was the most challenging moment?
A: The most challenging moment of the competition is definitely the mental game leading up to the start. Warming up trying to convince myself that I really am ready to race at a world cup level and just waiting for the time to tick by until my start.

Shutterstock photo: Mikayla Martin, who graduted from Howe Sound Secondary in 2015, is making a big jump in her ski career internationally, including in the beautiful Swiss ski resort town of Arosa (above).

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