KIMBERLEY, B.C. – Britt Richardson, one of Canada’s brightest prospects in alpine skiing, isn’t slowing down for anyone.
In a season to remember, where the 19-year-old from Canmore remarkably won a first-ever world championship medal, another first was added to Richardson’s impressive list of achievements when she became the youngest senior national champion this season in Kimberley, British Columbia on March 16.
Winning the women’s super-G race, a one run race to get down the hill as fast as you can, Richardson claimed the top Canuck crown at 1:04.23 – 0.33 seconds faster than national team teammate Cassidy Gray of Invermere, B.C.
“There’s a couple of us contending for the gold medal and it comes down to who can put it all together in one run,” said Richardson. “I was able to put down a solid run, and I knew the course really well, and what I had to do in order to take that spot. I was happy I was able to execute it and perform the way I wanted.”
Jay Keddy, Richardson's coach of the past two seasons, said she raced really clean and tactically smart.
He added that his pupil's biggest strengths are her focus and determination on becoming better. Since being with Alpine Canada Alpin for the past two decades, Keddy said he would give the teenager's mental formidability an edge over other prospects he's seen at that age over the years.
"I think Britt has a slightly more determined focus to do whatever it takes to win," said Keddy. "That's what I noticed about her the most."
At nationals, Richardson also placed second in the giant slalom (GS) – the same position she took a year ago on the national stage. The two-run technical race is Richardson’s strongest discipline and what she mainly competes in on the world cup circuit. Recently, she won the GS Nor-Am Cup title, which guarantees a spot on the world cup for all of next season.
However, after coming up big in the speedy super-G, the quick Canmorite said her confidence is blooming and she’s eyeing future technical and speed events down the line.
“I hope it’s more of a start to my speed career and I’d like to do more on the speed circuit,” said Richardson. “I think this may potentially lead me more toward that direction and I’m really excited to be training more of that and hopefully racing more.”
Canadian alpine athletes have been having breakout seasons left, right and centre, and Richardson, who is the youngest on Canada’s national ski team.
It’s been an incredibly strong finish to the season for Richardson, who won a bronze medal at the world championships in mixed team parallel in February along with fellow Canmorites Erik Read and Jeff Read, and Valérie Grenier of Ontario.
The 19-year-old has been the youngest Canadian competing in the world cup this season. Her best result on the top circuit this season was 24th in GS in early January.
Later that month, the quick Canuck was in serious contention for a podium at the FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships, but an unfortunate crash took her out of contention. Richardson led after the first GS run – up 0.20 seconds on second spot – during junior worlds. However, being at the top of the pack was short-lived when she caught an undulating slope in the second run down and slid off course, uninjured.
Keddy said for a racer like Richardson, she has to keep pushing limits to get what she wants.
"She was ranked very highly for her age in multiple events, so we always knew there's talent, not just in GS," he said. "That's why it wasn't surprising she has done well in certain super-Gs."