By Anil Jhalli
Sarah Brown’s ski season couldn’t have ended in a more memorable fashion.
The Ottawa skier won two medals at the 26th annual Whistler Cup last month, including gold in the Under-16 women’s slalom.
It was quite the moment for the 15-year-old, who said she never envisioned herself winning on that stage.
“I came out there with the intentions of just doing my best,” Brown said. “I would have been happy with a top 10 finish, so this is all just crazy to me. Obviously I am super happy and just so proud of my entire season.”
The annual competition hosted more than 400 of the world’s best skiers aged 12-15. Competitors came from 20 different countries and competed in the super-G, slalom and giant slalom.
Brown beat Switzerland’s Sarah Zoller by just 0.74 seconds to claim 1st place in the slalom with a combined time of 1:20.25 in her two runs. She also had the second fastest run of the competition, breaking the 40-second barrier in her second run, which was only 39.88 seconds. She admitted she was surprised by her gold medal winning performance and said she hopes the performance helps further her career.
Earlier in the competition she won bronze in the giant slalom, finishing with a two-run combined time of 2:12.26, just a hundredth of a second behind Switzerland’s Durrer Delia.
The Whistler Cup was not only the final race of the season but also the last time Brown will race as a U16 competitor.
“It was really special to finish the way I did and to have my best results ever,” Brown added. “I just wanted to go out there and give it my all.”
Brown says her love for skiing came at a very young age and stems from her family’s passion for the sport.
Her parents were active skiers and often skied in Mont Tremblant. Brown was four years old when she picked up the sport. She skied recreationally then, but as she got older began to pick it up more heavily on the weekends with her friends. She continued to show a keen interest and wanted to develop in the sport.
“I started to race, and I just fell in love with it,” she added.
She’s now focused on the next stage of her career: competing at the U18 level.
She said that meant not allowing herself to be distracted by her victory at the Whistler Cup. Brown was back to training as soon after she returned home from the competition.
But when her performance finally sunk in, Brown said she saw it as a learning experience that she can apply at the next level.
“I’m looking forward to what comes next,” she said. “It is a different program, and every race certainly matters.”