Justin Kripps

Justin Kripps is pictured in a 2021 file photo.

WINTERBERG, Germany — Canada’s Team Kripps put a silver lining around their return to the World Cup bobsleigh circuit in Winterberg, Germany, with their first podium of the season on Sunday.

Summerland native Justin Kripps piloted his veteran crew of Ben Coakwell (Saskatoon), Ryan Sommer (White Rock, B.C.), and Cam Stones (Whitby, Ont.) to their first-ever World Cup podium on the tricky 15-corner track with a two-run combined time 1:48.70.

It was the first World Cup start of the season for the Canucks. Canada’s bobsleigh athletes trained at home for the first half of the World Cup season due to international travel risks associated with COVID-19.

“This performance is a testament to the team we’ve built over the last few years. It shows who we are – to be able to come over here, without sliding hardly at all this year in a challenging training environment during these times, and get on the podium right away,” said Kripps.

The silver-medal triumph was the ninth career four-man medal as a pilot for Kripps. It was the sixth four-man podium for the burly Canadian crew since hopping into the same sled together following the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Winter Games. The top Canadian crew also won bronze in the four-man at the 2019 World Championships.

“This track is difficult because the Germans have a million training runs here and the weather is always terrible,” added Kripps, who celebrated his 34th birthday on Wednesday.

“It can also be tricky here because it can catch you falling asleep at the top where there is no speed or pressure, and sometimes you don’t pay attention to the details that build what little speed you have for the bottom.”

Kripps and his squad will now look to successfully defend their four-man title from last year at the birthplace of the sport in St. Moritz, Switzerland where the World Cup resumes next weekend.