Comox snowboarder off to Olympics

Carle Brenneman of Comox is part of Canada's snowboard cross team that will compete at the Winter OIympics next month in South Korea.

Carle Brenneman of Comox is part of Canada’s snowboard cross team that will compete at the Winter OIympics next month in South Korea.

Pyeongchang 2018 will be the first Olympics for the 28-year-old, who was an alternate for the 2014 Sochi Games.

“In 2014 I just stayed home,” Brenneman said by email from Bansko, Bulgaria, where she competed in a World Cup sprint race on Saturday. “I knew my two teammates would compete at the event no matter what injuries they could have gotten. Dominique (Maltais) and Maelle (Ricker) are the strongest women I know, and it was amazing to have been on the team with them.”

Brenneman has three World Cup top 10s to her credit, including a bronze in the SBX team event alongside Tess Critchlow at the 2017 Veysonnaz World Cup in Switzerland. She added a silver last year at the Sports Experts Speed Nation Nationals at Mont Tremblant, QC.

She made her World Cup debut at Cypress Mountain in North Vancouver in 2009, which served as a test event for the 2010 Games in Vancouver/Whistler.

Growing up in the vicinity of Mount Washington was a natural fit with skiing and snowboarding, but Brenneman’s Olympic dreams began in childhood when she a gymnast.

“I was heavily into gymnastics as a kid. This was definitely the starting point of my competitive drive,” she said. “I skied as a kid and switched to snowboarding in middle school. I participated in a lot of sports growing up but it wasn’t until I started racing snowboard cross after high school that I found something I truly enjoyed.”

She thrives on the challenge of navigating high speeds, big jumps and technical riding sections, which changes from course to course.

“Not to mention that you’re racing down this with five others.”

Brenneman has a “love-hate relationship” with road biking, which she uses for dry-land training. In the last few years she has discovered motorbiking, which helps clear her head and break up the monotony of training.

“The last four years I took training super seriously, with long hours at the gym every day, and many activities that related to helping me in snowboard cross,” Brenneman said. “I was committed to doing everything I could so that I wouldn’t look back with any regrets that I didn’t give it my all.”

Her competitors in Pyeongchang will include defending Olympic champion Eva Samkova of the Czech Republic, 2014 Olympic bronze medallist Chloe Trespeuch of France (who leads the ladies’ ranking), Michela Moioli of Italy, Nelly Moenne-Loccoz of France, and five-time world champion Lindsey Jacobellis of the U.S.