Jessie Linton is operating ahead of schedule.
The 17-year-old Freestyle Whistler alum was named to her first FIS Junior World Ski Championships squad, representing Canada in moguls and dual moguls, at Chiesa in Valmalenco, Italy next month.
"It means so much. It's so much work I've put into it and it's finally paying off, so it feels really good to be a part of that," she said.
Linton said that she had hoped to make it to the Junior Worlds in her career, but didn't expect to be ready until the 2020 event.
"I wasn't expecting it to happen this year, but it did and I was so, so happy," she said. "I was thinking about this event, but not until next year that I would get chosen. I showed up as the first alternate and then I got the spot and I was just blown away."
Linton said her year started strong and while she disappointingly slowed down toward the middle of the campaign, realized that in the big picture, 2018-19 has been a success overall.
"It was a pretty good year. It was my first year completing my cork, which is a new trick for me, so that was very exciting," she said. "When it comes to challenging events, sometimes it's hard to stay positive mentally, so it's really important to focus on the good aspects of your skiing.
"I find that I like to do a lot of visualization work to really prepare myself for the tough parts in the course, and when I don't do well, I try to stay on the positive side, too, because it's fun. If you're only focused on your results, it's hard to have fun."
Linton is excited to compete in dual moguls, as the direct competition with another skier provides her an adrenaline boost. When in Italy, she's hoping to just lay down a run she's satisfied with and go from there.
"As long as I'm happy with that, that's a good goal to have," she said.
Also attending will be Sam Cordell, who recently wrapped up a FIS event in Japan. The 18-year-old is elated to attend his first-ever competition in Europe.
"It means a lot to be named to the Junior Worlds team this year. It was my goal at the start of the season to qualify for this competition, so for me it's the culmination of my skiing across the competition circuit so far this year," Cordell wrote in an email. "I was super happy to learn that I had made it. My coach had told me I was on the long list a few weeks before so it was always in the back of my mind, but receiving the official invite was awesome."
Cordell noted he's expecting a challenge, especially considering the steepness of the Valmalenco course, but now in his third season of NorAm Cup action, he has plenty of international experience from which to draw. His top result on that circuit this year was a fourth-place finish in Val St-Come, Que. last month, while he also took a silver medal on the Canada Cup tour.
"My season has gone pretty well so far. I've managed to stay consistent throughout my runs and continue to improve from last year," he said. "The one element of my skiing that has definitely improved this year is my speed. I've been able to ski runs one to two seconds faster while staying in good form this year, which has really helped my scores and results."