In 2011, Kelsey Serwa officially arrived as a dominant force on the international ski cross circuit.
The 22-year-old from Kelowna climbed to the top of the podium in the two races she most coveted—the X Games, and the world freestyle championships.
And they were no run-of-the-mill gold medal performances.
Serwa crashed-landed her way to victory at the X Games in Colorado, injuring her back and elbow, and suffering multiple scrapes, bumps and bruises.
The just a week later, still suffering the effects of her injuries, Serwa repeated the feat at the world championships in Deer Valley, Utah.
“It’s been a great year already because I won the two races I really wanted most,” Serwa said in February after worlds. “At worlds, I missed two days of training and I was broken, I could barely ski, but I still won. I don’t think anyone expected that from me. That was really the highlight.”
Serwa also won a gold and four silver medals at World Cup events during the 2010-11 season and finished third overall in the World Cup standings. She added another silver at the Canadian championships in April at Lake Louise.
Serwa, who took a more relaxed approach to her skiing than the previous year, couldn’t have asked for much more from her third full season on the ski cross circuit.
“I didn’t put any huge expectations on myself, I’ve just gone out and raced,” said Serwa.
“I’ve had it in my head that, in the long run, one race isn’t the end of the world. One race doesn’t make a difference if you crash. There are way too many things to think about if you allow it. I function better this way.”
And Serwa opened the 2011-12 season in style in December, winning double gold in the first two races of the FIS World Cup ski cross season in San Candido, Italy.