Chilliwack skier wins gold in Lillehammer

Reece Howden in top form at Youth Olympic Games on Monday

Reece Howden

Reece Howden

Reece Howden has brought home the gold in men’s ski cross following an impressive day of races in Lillehammer, Norway this weekend.

Chilliwack’s Howden, 17, was competing for Canada in the Youth Olympic Games, which kicked off on Friday night.

He hit the slopes for five races during the day, placing first in almost all of them.

The event’s qualifying races were first up on Monday afternoon, where he placed third. He then placed first in his heat just a half hour later. He also placed first in the semifinals, and first again in his big finals race.

It all lead him to the final race for the gold medal.

That race saw him starting out toe-to-toe with Australia’s Louis Muhlen. About halfway down the slopes, the Australian skier tried to overtake Howden on the inside, crashing into the snowbank. That gave Howden a clean sweep to the finish line, easily snapping up his gold medal.

Silver went to Belgium’s Xander Vercammen who bolted ahead from fourth after Muhlen’s crash. But Muhlen still caught up to the pack and finished with a bronze for Australia.

The French skier in the race, Matteo Lucatelli, finished a fairly close fourth, even with a missing ski.

There are 56 young Canadians in Lillehammer this week, competing in ski and snowboarding events, hockey, bobsleigh, skeleton and luge, curling, skating, biathalon,

Howden earned his spot, alongside Zoe Chore from Kimberley, in December 2015 at a qualifier at Sun Peaks near Kamloops.

The Youth Olympic Games is hosting just over one thousand young athletes from around the world, giving them the opportunity to learn about high performance sport, meet Olympic champions and role models who will share their experiences with athletes.

The event wraps up on Feb. 22 with a closing ceremony.

The Youth Olympic Games congratulated Reece on his gold medal, and provided a short clip on Youtube of the winning race: