CANskiteam Alpine Women’s Season Preview with Head Coach Laurent Praz
The 2022_23 season saw Canada’s women’s alpine team establish themselves in the top 10 in the overall World Cup Nations Cup standing in all four disciplines, including 8th in both slalom and super-G. This is the first time since 2011 that Canada’s women are in the top 10 in each of the four disciplines (link here).
Ahead of the 23_24 World Cup season we caught-up with Canada’s women’s alpine head coach Laurent Praz.
Hometown: Aosta Valley, Italy
Coaching: 13 years coaching ski racing
Coaching national team: Starting his 5th season coaching at the national level
Head Coach: 1st season as national team head coach
What are you most looking forward to this season:
I’m very excited about this team. They are a terrific group of women, they are talented, supportive and they really push each other on and off the snow. It’s a challenging schedule but we’ve got an outstanding group of coaches and support staff that I’m confident will make it a great season.
What can Canadian ski racing fans hope to see this season:
The athletes need to meet a high criteria to be on the national team and the athletes, coaches and staff are all working hard to put them in a position to succeed. Each athlete has their own goals, and their own skills that translate to success under the different conditions that we’ll experience during the season. I believe that with this group, there will be Canadian women competing every week for a place on the podium.
What are some of the team’s goals this season:
We’ve got a great blend of youth, experience, enthusiasm and talent. I expect that we will continue to improve as a team and that we will have individuals in the Top 10 at the end of the season. And of course, for Kiki Alexander (Calgary, AB) we want to see her continue her strong recovery from injury and to be at 100% with the team for spring camp next April.
We have three young athletes in Britt Richardson (Canmore, AB), Cassidy Gray (Invermere, BC) and Sarah Bennett (Stoneham, QC) who have shown great potential and are looking to establish themselves on the World Cup tour by finishing in the top 30 and scoring points in giant slalom and super-G.
Ali Nullmeyer (Toronto, ON), Amelia Smart (Invermere, BC) and Laurence St-Germain (St. Ferréol-les-Neiges, QC) are all ranked in the top 25 and having all three in the top 15 at the end of this season with one or two in the top 10 is a goal. We all saw what Lau can do at the World Championships, and we see podiums from this group this season.
Valérie Grenier (St-Isidore, ON) is healthy and like all the women, has worked very hard this summer. Coming off two World Cup podiums last season, we see Val competing for podiums at most races this season.
What race are you most looking forward to this season:
With the range of talent that we have on the team, every race is important, and every race is an opportunity for this group to get World Cup points, to stand on the podium and to win.
That said, every athlete in any sport will tell you that a home race is special, and the team is very excited for the Tremblant World Cup. We did a spring camp at Tremblant and there was already lots of interest. The area has a great ski racing culture and a tremendous community. It will definitely be a highlight of this season.