SKI TEAM ALUMNI BRIAN STEMMLE SPARKS INSPIRATION AT TEEN’S BIRTHDAY PARTY
It’s not everyday that former Canadian Alpine Ski Team star and CBC sports broadcaster, Brian Stemmle, is invited to attend a 13 year old’s birthday party! However, when ski-racing mom Christina (Carscadden) Eaton from the Georgian Peaks Club reached out to see if he would attend her son’s teen milestone party to share a few words of inspiration, Stemmle jumped on the occasion.
Eaton had a long history of throwing entertaining birthday celebrations for family members, but hosting a boys’ teen party presented a unique challenge. “For my son Fredrik’s 13th birthday, I must admit that I struggled to find an idea that would keep him and his friends engaged above the typical XBOX gaming session,” she laughs.
A lifelong ski enthusiast and former racer, Christina had a lightbulb idea to reach out to local ski hero, Brian Stemmle. The Stemmle and Carscadden families go back a long way.
“Christina and her parents lived beside my grandparents in Meaford, right on Georgian Bay,” told Stemmle. “She and her brother would often hitch a ride to Georgian Peaks, and also come over and toboggan and ski down my grandparents’ driveway with super-slider snow skates,” he recalls.
“When Christina contacted me to attend her son’s birthday, I was honoured and excited to have the chance to impact these aspiring champions,” shared the father of twin daughters.
At the party, Stemmle spoke to the U14 racers about his incredible ski-racing career, sharing the highs and lows of ski racing, the role of his older sister Karen in inspiring him, his miraculous recovery from the crash at Kitzbuhel, his amazing comeback to compete in Nagano in 1998, and his debt of gratitude to his grandparents and parents for the support they gave him.
“The boys are at the perfect stage to be regaled by Brian’s stories – they loved it”, added Eaton.
In addition to sharing his wisdom, Stemmle generously gave Canadian downhillers’ t-shirts to the party guests.
The birthday party took place in early March, before all concerns around COVID-19 emerged. “Looking back, we were very lucky to be able to host the event before everyone’s worlds’ turned upside down,” tells Eaton.
In recognition of Brian’s presence at Fredrik’s party, the Eaton family made a donation to Alpine Canada in support of the current generation of Canadian Alpine Ski Team members.
“I feel very fortunate to have grown up skiing at Georgian Peaks in an era of great renown for Canada’s National Ski Team,” expressed Eaton. “Alpine skiing has given a lot to our family and it feels natural to give back for all that we have received in terms of personal growth through the sport,” she says.
The Eaton family’s passion for imparting ski-racing excellence to their children doesn’t stop here. During a ski trip to Whistler in January 2019, Christina reached out to local ski champion Robbie Dixon through Whistler/Blackcomb’s ‘Ski with an Olympian’ program.
Whistler ski day with Robbie Dixon.
“The boys were missing their first weekend of ski-race training back in Ontario so I wanted them to have some training while we were out West,” she explains.
As luck would have it, their first run with Dixon was down The Dave Murray Downhill at top speed. Then they trained gates on Whistler for the rest of the morning.
“It was a thrilling experience for us, and a great way to start the season,” adds Eaton.
When reflecting about both experiences, her sons agree. While William says: “it was really interesting to learn the mindsets of professional skiers,” Fredrik wonders “how does my mother come up with these great ideas!”
Alpine Canada has a rich tradition which spans across more than 600 alumni who have proudly represented our country in ski cross, para-alpine and alpine programs.
“Our more than 600 alumni athletes, coaches and staff represent the rich history of our sport and the inspiration to future generations of champions,” explains Marie-Hélne Thibeault, Director of Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement. “As we celebrate the 100 years of ski racing in Canada, Alpine Canada recognizes the impact our alumni continue to have on our community even beyond their racing days and we look forward to growing this meaningful connection between the past and the present with the generous participation of our heros,” she concludes.