Calgary, Alta. (October 24, 2017) – After months in the gym and summer ski camps chasing snow, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team is ready for success in the 2017-18 season. The season kicks off this weekend in Sölden, AUT with the traditional men’s and ladies' giant slalom openers.
Much anticipation surrounds the 2017-18 season, including two World Cup events on home snow (Lake Louise, AB), the 2018 Winter Olympic Games (PyeongChang, KOR) in February and plenty of domestic Nor-Cup Cup races featuring the next generation of World Cup stars. Martin Rufener continues to head up the alpine program, leading the men’s, women’s and development teams into the season.
“The season kicks off this weekend in Sölden, Austria on a very challenging slope but we are very excited for a successful season ahead,” said Martin Rufener, Alpine Athletic Director. “All the teams had really great pre-season training around the world, including Switzerland, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile and a final camp to come in Colorado. Our speed teams capitalized on time in the ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel in Toronto to ensure we have the fastest suits in the world. We are optimistic about a promising season ahead with competitive athletes in every discipline heading into the Olympic Games. We have a big World Cup calendar ahead of the Games and we are excited for success across all of Alpine Canada’s alpine teams.”
The 2017-18 Alpine Canada Team Nominations were announced in May. Here is the full roster of athletes storming the World Cup and Nor-Am Cup circuits this season.
Erik Guay, the 2017 World Championship super-G gold medalist and downhill silver medallist, along with teammate and 2017 World Championship super-G bronze medallist, Manny Osborne-Paradis, will once again lead the men’s speed team. Joining the veterans will be Dustin Cook, 2015 World Championship super-G silver medallist and Ben Thomsen, who is returning to the circuit healthy and ready to hunt down a second career World Cup podium finish. Young gun, Broderick Thompson, has been training and competing with the veterans, and will be looking to crack the top 30 this season in downhill and super-G.
For the men’s tech team, what’s old is new again with the reintroduction of the 30-metre radius giant slalom skis. The men have had some great success over the summer on the new equipment. Calgary’s Erik Read achieved four top-ten finishes on the World Cup circuit last year and is looking to add some new personal-best results to his record. Joining Read on the team is 2017 Nor-Am Cup overall winner and overall giant slalom winner, Phil Brown, as well as Calgary’s Trevor Philp.
The ladies’ team is stacked with talent, including many multi-discipline athletes who will race both speed and tech this season. Marie-Michèle Gagnon will be juggling both tech and speed, and will continue to be a top contender for the podium in alpine combined. After summer training, with a focus on super-G and downhill, Gagnon has a renewed excitement for the exhilarating speed events. Veteran and slalom specialist, Erin Mielzynski, is back for another season chasing the podium. Keep an eye out for Valérie Grenier who was the first athlete on the World Cup circuit last season to achieve a top 30 finish in every discipline. This all-around threat will be crushing both speed and tech events this season.
The men’s development team, lead by Canadian Ski Team alumni and World Downhill Champion, John Kucera, is deep with budding talent, including Jack Crawford and Sam Mulligan. Both men secured fourth-place finishes in speed events at the 2017 FIS Junior World Ski Championships.
Peter Rybarik will continue to lead the ladies’ Development Team athletes, including promising speed skier Stefanie Fleckenstein who had her World Cup speed debut at the Lake Louise race last season and Roni Remme, who will be looking to return to the World Cup circuit after taking time to complete some courses at the University of Utah.
This season promises to be another exciting one. Here’s how you can follow along and cheer on the #CANSkiTeam:
Full athlete bios here.
World Cup schedule here.
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ABOUT ALPINE CANADA
Alpine Canada is the national governing body for alpine, para-alpine and ski cross racing in Canada. With the support of valued corporate partners along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium and the Canadian Olympic Committee, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, world championship and World Cup medallists to stimulate visibility, inspiration and growth in the ski community.