Calgary, Alta. (December 13, 2016) – The Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team kicks off their season in Kuhtai, Austria this week, and all the hours spent in the gym and training on snow, will finally be put to the test. Ending last season with a total of 22 IPC World Cup podiums and three Crystal Globes, the young para-alpine ski team has proven age won’t be a factor as they charge the circuit this year.
This year’s big calendar events include World Championships in Tarvisio, Italy, taking place from January 23rd through the 31st. The team is also heading to PyeongChang, South Korea in March for a test event ahead of next year’s Paralympic Games. This will be the teams’ first look at the venue as they prepare for the big show in 2018.
The 2015-16 season ended on a high note with three athletes, Braydon Luscombe, Alana Ramsay and Kurt Oatway, securing career-first World Cup podium finishes. Oatway went on to claim the downhill Crystal Globe in the sitting category and young speed prodigy, Mac Marcoux, picked up the Crystal Globe in both downhill and super-G in the visually impaired category.
“After my breakout season last year, which included seven World Cup podiums, I’m really excited to get back in the start gate,” said Ramsay. “I’ve been working really hard in the gym and in our on-snow training camps in preparation for the season. With World Championships on this year’s calendar and the Paralympics less than two years away, I’m looking to keep my momentum from last season and reach new personal-bests on the circuit this year."
The para-alpine team has three new additions heading into the 2016-17 season. Squamish, B.C.’s Alex Cairns joins the team in the men’s sitting category and Gatineau, Quebec’s Alexis Guimond joins in the men’s standing category. Marcoux has been working and training with a new guide through summer and fall training camps. Alberta Ski Team alumni, Jack Leitch, joins the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team as Marcoux’s guide.
“The team has had good momentum from summer training and are excited to race,” said Head Coach, J.S. Labrie. “This season we want our young team to learn to perform on demand at big events, including World Championships in January. This year, our motto is ‘ski fast when it counts.’ With 10 racers, we have a wide range of expectations, but the core of the team is looking for podium results. We have a young team that is hungry for success!”
Interim Para-alpine Athletic Director and former member of the team, Matt Hallat, visited the site of PyeongChang test event in November. “The PyeongChang venue is looking good and we feel we have a good plan heading to Korea in March,” said Hallat. “Thankfully we have some previous experience we can rely on as Korea hosted our World Championships in 2009. I believe that Jeongseong (host of all Paralympic Alpine skiing) will be a great venue for racing and as always with a new venue, it will take a few days to work out the kinks, but with the great staff we have we are prepared to create the best possible environment to achieve success.”
Athletic Director: Brianne Law
Head Coach: J.S. Labrie
Mac Marcoux (Guide: Jack Leitch)
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