Canadian alpine skiers back on snow in Chile


Canadian alpine skiers back on snow in Chile{mosimage}After more than 80 days of demanding dryland training, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team’s 27 athletes and 18 prospect development team athletes are back on snow for a month-long camp in Chile. Lead by World Cup medalists and Olympic hopefuls, Thomas Grandi, Allison Forsyth, Geneviève Simard, Erik Guay, François Bourque, and Emily Brydon, the team begins an important block of on-snow training in preparation for the Torino Olympics which are set to kickstart in 184 days.

Building on the momentum from the 04-05 season – which saw Canadian alpine ski racers win six World Cup medals including two gold medals by veteran Thomas Grandi – Canada’s elite racers are setting foot back on snow for a series of CIBC Summer Camps that will extend to the first technical World Cup events scheduled for October 22 and 23 in Soelden (AUT). This first camp, which started this week, will conclude in early September for the women and in mid September for the men.

Under the leadership of physical trainers Mike Fichta, Kurt Kothbauer, and Dave Ellis, the athletes of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team underwent more than three months of rigorous fitness training in the hope of being the fittest athletes on the circuit.

‘From May to the end of July, our athletes focused exclusively on their fitness, accumulating more than 80 days of training’ confirmed Max Gartner, Chief Athletic officer for Alpine Canada Alpin. ‘Now, the emphasis shifts to skiing with the intention of reaching a racing peak at the Olympics.’

Joined by the women’s Swedish and German teams and the men’s Austrian powerhouse for a segment of the Chilean camp, the Canadians will train all four disciplines, namely slalom, giant slalom, super G and downhill. The training will take place at Chillan, Portillo, El Colorado, and Valle Nevado ski resorts where members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team will experience altitudes reaching 3,000 meters.

‘The high altitude in the southern hemisphere puts major demands on the body, reiterating the importance of the physical training’ said Fichta, the women’s head trainer. ‘We want our athletes to be in the best shape possible so that they can have the necessary capacities to sustain long and intense training days while maximizing their on-snow training.’

For many of the team’s athletes, the next few months will be crucial. With the Olympics fast approaching in February, the focus will be to meet the qualifying criteria set by Alpine Canada Alpin. Alpine Canada Alpin has a strategic goal to qualify 22 racers for this season’s 2006 Winter Games in Torino Italy double the 11 athletes who met the international standards at the last Olympics in Salt Lake City.

To date, eight Canadian Alpine Ski Team athletes have met the selection criteria:

Men

Thomas Grandi First place World Cup GS (Alta Badia,ITA and Flachau, AUT)

Jean-Phillipe Roy Fifth place World Cup GS (Alta Badia, ITA)

François Bourque Third place World Cup Super G (Garmish, GER)

Patrick Biggs Ninth place World Championships Slalom (Bormio, ITA)

Michael Janyk 11th place World Championships Slalom (Bormio, ITA)

Women

Geneviève Simard Second place World Cup GS (Santa Caterina, ITA)

Allison Forsyth Third place World Cup GS (Santa Caterina, ITA)

Emily Brydon 11th World Championships Downhill and 5th in Word Cup DH (Bormio, ITA and San Sicario, ITA)

U.S. men's tech squad training and racing in New Zealand; Koznick in SwitzerlandSugarloaf to host 2005-2006 alpine national championships

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