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Calgary Cup Recap

Professional slalom skiing returned to Canada for the first time in 6 years and to the city of Calgary in nearly a decade as the Calgary Cup joined Waterski Pro Tour this past weekend. A three week break brought the Tour back to North America after a lightning trip around europe across June and July. The slalom event, held alongside a World Waterskiers overall tournament, brought few surprises at the top of the podium but perhaps some when examining the build up.

Skiers at the 2023 Calgary Cup
Photo by Johnny Hayward - @johnnyhaywardphoto

Both the women’s and men’s fields were slightly depleted with big names missing such as local girl Jaimee Bull, Regina Jaquess, Freddie Winter and Will Asher. Presumably all were focusing on retaining energy for a big final push towards the end of the season. Nevertheless the action was fraught and both divisions went down to the wire.

Allie Nicholson at the 2023 Calgary Cup
Photo by Johnny Hayward - @johnnyhaywardphoto

The highlight of the opening round was Allie Nicholson running 10.75m for the second time, the first being two events ago in Kaiafas, Greece, as she finished the first round with 0.5@10.25m. Nicholson has a strong claim to be the world's most improved pro skier this season and she only seems to be getting better as she closes the gap to the very top tier. Canadian Whitney McClintock-Rini, always amongst the very best for the last 15 years, continued her fine run of form in 2023 by beating Nicholson in that round with 2@10.25m. A final of decidedly lower scores due to adverse wind conditions left a run-off between the aforementioned two after a tie at 1.5@10.75m. Ultimately McClintock-Rini, who has won her last four pro level events entered in Canada (2017, 2014, 2013, 2009), prevailed, beating Nicholson by 0.5 buoys with 1@10.75. Her fourth win of the season means she is top of the Waterski Pro Tour Leaderboard going into another break of a few weeks.

Joel Poland at the 2023 Calgary Cup
Photo by Johnny Hayward - @johnnyhaywardphoto

On the men’s side a big scoring first round with Nate Smith and Dane Mechler up top was followed by a lower scoring second. In the final Joel Poland was scored 3@10.25m to give him an early lead, something Dane Mechler could not match as he scored 2@10.25m. Nate Smith, last of the dock needed a piece of 4, something he achieved by the closest of margins. However, Poland’s score was changed to 2 after the final, leaving him in third and Mechler in second. Smith, having lost his first Tour event in some time in Europe is back to winning ways and sits atop the Leaderboard with over half the season gone.

An excellent event is in the books which showcased drama until after the last skier was finished. We look forward to next year when the event will be more embedded and even more successful.

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