While Chile’s young olympians won’t be coming home from Sochi with any new silverware, the athletes should return with their heads held high, bringing with them new hopes for the future of their sports in Chile.
The closest the Andean nation got to a medal were two young female skiers: 22-year-old Stephanie Joffroy who made it the quarterfinals in the ladies ski-cross over the weekend and the youngest member of the Chilean team, 18-year-old Dominique Ohaco who came 13th in the Ladies Ski Slopestyle, just one place shy of placing in the finals. If she had not touched the snow with her hands on her landing, officials say she would have seen a different outcome in Sochi.
Alpine skier Henrik Von Appen showed similar promise with his impressive movement in the standings throughout the 2014 Winter Games. Across various races he placed 41st, 40th, 30th and 32nd. The 19-year-old skier was most proud of this latter race, even though it wasn’t his best ranking.
“I started at 50th and came 32nd,” Von Appen told The Santiago Times, referring to his strong finish after coming from behind. “I was the only guy with my bib to do that.”
The Chilean Ski and Snowboard Federation (Fedeski) hope that the success of these young athletes will motivate the country to invest more in its winter sports and have an even more impressive show at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea. With such a young outfit this year, Chile’s top skiers will also have some experience under their belts as they train and set their eyes on future Olympic slopes.
Chile is a top destination for winter sports in the Southern hemisphere. With numerous high quality ski resorts just hours outside of the capital, such as El Colorado, Portillo, La Parva and Valle Nevado, and even more adventure ski destinations in the south of the country, there is no shortage of places to get out and hit the slopes across the Andean nation.