Thomsen’s emergence as a World Cup star would not have been possible without great perseverance and self-belief. With no team, no coach and no sponsors, he worked a series of construction and landscaping jobs to keep chasing his dream of joining the ranks of the elite. He had four top-20 World Cup and world championship results in 2010-11 and got his reward when he was named to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in the spring of 2011. Technically-gifted and known for being fearless, the Invermere, B.C., native seems to thrive on the world's most challenging courses. In February 2012, Thomsen announced his arrival as a major talent with a second-place finish in a World Cup downhill in Sochi, Russia.
2nd – Downhill – FIS World Cup – Sochi, RUS (2012)
5th – Downhill – FIS World Cup – Chamonix, FRA (2012)
9th – Downhill – FIS World Cup – Kvitfjell, NOR (2012)
World Cup rankings
Birth date: 25/08/1987
Birth place: Invermere, B.C.
Residence: Calgary, Alta.
Hometown: Invermere, B.C.
Ski club: Windermere
Made team: 2011
Weight: 176 pounds
Nicknames: Benny Alcott, Black Panther, The Rock Whisperer, Pink Pocster (because of his pink helmet).
First memory of skiing: The memory that stands out is the first time I ever rode the quad chair on my home hill, Panorama, B.C. I was too small to go by myself, so I snuck on when no one was looking. I couldn’t even reach the bar and I was sitting right on the edge of the seat. My mom saw what happened right when the chair left the loading area, and she panicked. I had the biggest smile on my face.
Best moment in ski racing: Winning second place in Sochi, Russia, in 2012. I don’t actually remember much of the run, but I do remember that when I crossed the finish line, the crowd was really quiet and not really doing anything, so right away I assumed I had a bad run. Then I looked over at the Canadian guys, and everyone was jumping up and down going nuts. I saw that I was second, and it was just the most indescribable feeling.
Worst moment in ski racing: The toughest thing to deal with so far was at the Lake Louise, Alta. World Cup last year when I hit a rock during my run. I had no idea I had hit it, and kept trying to ski, thinking the edges of my skis were too dull or something. But when I got to the finish I looked at my ski and the whole edge was gone. I just felt so
What is your Olympic dream? I’ve never been to an Olympics, but I would like to medal in Sochi, Russia this year.
What is the best thing about having the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia? For me, the best thing is that I’ve already got a podium there. It’s a really tough course, which is something that I like. It’s unique and a lot of people will be out of their element, which is something I’m comfortable with.
If you could listen to one song before leaving the start gate, what would it be? It’s not a song, but an inspirational speech. It’s from a Versus commercial and it starts with. “Here's the thing that makes life so interesting: the Theory of Evolution claims that ‘only the strong shall survive.’ Maybe so, maybe so. But the Theory of Competition says, ‘Just because they're the strong doesn't mean they can't get their asses kicked.’” It goes on to talk about underdogs and other aspects of competition. It resonates with me.
If you could bring any three people in the world - living or from the past - to one of your races, who would they be? I would bring my grandma, or MoMo, who passed away a few years ago. She loved to travel the world. I would also bring a past girlfriend of mine, Evann Parker, who passed away in 2011 from leukemia.
Hidden talent: I know how to crochet! I make sweet hats.
If you had just one day left to live, how would you spend it? I would spend it in my hometown, Invermere, B.C., doing everything and anything I did when I grew up, which means mostly any sport you can imagine.
If you could own a business or be trained in any career other than ski racing, what would you choose? I would 110% move over to Moto GP racing. I’m fascinated with it, and have always wanted to do it at that level. I race a little bit on the track when I can, and it just feels so natural to me. I love it.
When I’m not skiing, you can probably find me: Golfing, kite boarding, racing motorcycles, cliff jumping, boating, or having a BBQ.
What’s the best thing about your hometown? It’s the perfect mix of quiet and busy.
Name the most surprising thing in your suitcase when you’re on the road: When my MoMo (grandma) passed away a few years ago, I inherited her ski goggles. She loved skiing and travelling to new places, and wanted to someday travel the globe. I take her ski goggles with me everywhere I go as a way to keep her with me and to show her the world.
Describe your favourite thing to eat or drink during race season: The wine and food from Italy is pretty amazing. The tiramisu in Bormio can’t be beat.
If you could design your own World Cup spot anywhere in the world, where would it be? Hands down, Panorama, B.C. I think it’s the best mountain. I’ve dreamt about having a World Cup there since I was a kid, and sometimes let my imagination run wild thinking of where the track could go. Panorama would be an amazing venue for a World Cup.
Where is your favourite place to race or train? Kitzbuhel, Austria, is my favourite stop on the World Cup. To me it’s the most fun track – you live on the edge of control almost the entire way down. To train, Panorama, B.C. It has the best, most consistent conditions.
If you could have one superpower, what would it be? I would want to be the superhero Iron Man. He’s rich, he has a suit that’s indestructible, and he can get places really quickly.
If you could build your dream home anywhere in the world, where would it be? I’d like a place on Lake Windermere in Invermere, B.C. I’ve never found somewhere that I love more. It has everything.
What’s the funniest thing you’ve seen a teammate do while on the road? Trevor Philp giving a speech at Trevor White’s retirement party. That kid has a velvet tongue.
Who is someone you admire in sport? I really admire Valentino Rossi, who races in Moto GP. He’s been in the sport for a long time, and is one of only two guys to go over 100 Moto GP wins. He’s in his 30s racing against younger guys, and is still doing it because he loves it. He’s extremely talented – he’s quiet, but when he’s on the bike he’s a killer, and I think I share a lot of those qualities.
2nd – Downhill – Sochi, RUS (Feb. 2012)
Finishes in the top 20
12th- Downhill - Kitzbühel, AUT (Jan. 2014)
17th- Downhill - Kitzbühel, AUT (Jan. 2013)
12th - Downhill - Wengen, SUI (Jan. 2013)
15th - Downhill - Bormio, ITA (Dec. 2012)
16th – Downhill – Beaver Creek, USA (Nov. 2012)
10th – Downhill – Schladming, AUT (March 2012)
9th – Downhill – Kvitfjell, NOR (March 2012)
5th – Downhill – Chamonix, FRA (Feb. 2012)
11th – Downhill – Chamonix, FRA (Feb. 2012)
18th – Downhill – Kvitfjell, NOR (March 2011)
16th – Downhill – Val Gardena-Groeden, ITA (Dec. 2010)
2014 Olympic Winter Games - Sochi, RUS
19th - Downhill
Canadian Champion - Super-G - Whistler, B.C. (March 2014)
FIS World Ski Championships
17th - Downhill - Schladming, AUT (Feb. 2013)
19th - Super-G - Schladming, AUT (Feb. 2013)
18th – Downhill – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER (Feb. 2011)
19th – Super-G – Garmisch-Partenkirchen, GER (Feb. 2011)
Finishes in the top 10
7th - Super-G - Nakiska, Alta. (March 2013)
8th – Super-G – Aspen, USA (Feb. 2011)
10th – Downhill – Aspen, USA (Feb. 2011)
3rd – Downhill – Lake Louise, Alta. (Dec. 2010)
6th – Downhill – Aspen, USA (Feb. 2010)
6th – Downhill – Aspen, USA (Feb. 2010)
4th – Super-G – Aspen, USA (Feb. 2010)
9th – Super-G – Panorama, B.C. (Dec. 2009)
9th – Downhill – Lake Louise, Alta. (Dec. 2009)
9th – Super-G – Apex, B.C. (Feb. 2007)