Banff Alpine representing Canada at 2024 FIS World Junior Ski Championships

Mid January three BAR-E Team athletes headed to Europe for some training in preparation for FIS Alpine Junior World Ski Championships, Haute-Savoie, France.  The event consisted of 6 disciplines over 7 days with 54 countries attending. Kendra Giesbrecht and Jesse Kertesz-Knight represented Canada along with two fellow Albertans, Alberta Ski Team member Gered Thompson, ACA member dual gold medalist Britt Richardson and Kyle McGown representing Australia.

Both Jesse and Kendra started the season with a Banff Alpine Racers (BAR) annual trip to Saas Fee and competing in Sweden pre-season.  Jesse also integrated with other top athletes and teams in Pozza Italy, and competing on the Nor-Am Circuit in North America leading up to WJSC.  Kendra’s focus was keeping the body healthy, ready to perform, including physiotherapy, and great nutrition.  Kendra noted that quality time on snow and having a goal and purpose every run was the most important. 

Kendra noted “This season has been great!  Lots of awesome training and some pretty cool races as well.  Some big changes that I’ve been working really hard towards so I’m pretty pleased.”  Jesse “Approaching mid-season, I feel that I have achieved some of my goals, pushing hard to keep climbing the ladder towards success.  Happy with some solid Nor Am results, FIS GS victory in Italy and 4th in WJSC.  Two Europa Cup Slalom starts in Switzerland were the most memorable ski racing experiences to date.  Although DNF both days, I skied well, and had the incredible opportunity to ski with Canadian Tech Team.”

Both Kendra and Jesse noted that European racing is fast paced, quicker and have a deeper competition field.  Europe is filled with amazing racers, huge fan base and strong sponsorship, to be competitive you need to give it your all.  Challenges were competing against athletes willing to put it all on the line, no room for error, needing the head space to be the best you can without the distraction of a world class event. 

Kendra, Jesse and Kyle all competed in GS and Slalom, Kendra and Jesse Team Parallel, and Kendra Combined events.  Highlight for the young Canadian BAR athletes, was the Team Parallel Event.  Each country with two of each female and male competing head to head in 4 races to see who went on to the next round.  Team consisted of Jesse, Kendra, Kyle Blandford (Ontario) and Estelle Martin (Quebec).   A unique opportunity to compete in for a team in a sport that is usually individual.  Last few rounds the team competed without injured teammate Estelle, with a disadvantage, but that didn’t stop them.   Jesse noted that the “adrenaline was unmatched, and being able to cheer on your teammates knowing it also affects yourself is a super cool experience”.  The team won rounds against Austria and Germany, and only two losses were against the champions Norway and bronze medalist US.

Kendra’s down time includes playing cards with her teammates, reading, watching movies and exploring visiting towns.  Jesse enjoys playing hockey with his teammates, especially Jake and Kyle.  Jesse’s travel tips - don’t forget your important items such as ski boots and take photos!  Try your hardest and have fun!  Kendra has learned that racing while on the road, "ski like you can and do not do anything extra, if you do your best the rest will come!

Congratulations to young Canadians on the WJSC journey and the coaches for their support, the beginning of successful race careers. 

Photos L-R

  • Kendra, Luke Patterson (BAR Athletics Director), Jesse
  • Crowds at WJSC
  • Night racing
  • Canadian Team finishing 4th in Team Parallel - Kyle, Estelle, Jesse and Kendra (photo credit Perry Thompson)




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