This year, Alpine Canada’s alpine development team is comprised of nine athletes, including four women and five men. With some returning athletes to the program, along with fresh faces, and three athletes with older siblings on the national team, this year’s group of young guns will no doubt be producing results.
This young and talented crop of up-and-coming alpine superstars have been hitting the gym all summer long in preparation for their first on snow camp, which started at the end of August. In a few short months, Canada’s next crop of talent will be storming NorAm and Europa Cup circuits, and even pushing out of a few World Cup start gates.
Women’s Alpine Development Team
The women’s team, lead by veteran development team head coach Peter Rybarik, includes two development team alumni, Ali Nullmeyer (Georgian Peaks Ski Club) and Amelia Smart (Team Panorama). Whistler Mountain Ski Club’s Stefanie Fleckenstein and Mont-Tremblant Ski Club’s Marina Vilanova round out the new faces on the women’s team.
“We have a cohesive and tight-knit women’s team that are close in age and really benefit from training together,” said Rybarik about his athletes. “Training so far has been absolutely great. Our programming kicked off in May with a two week on-snow camp at Sunshine Village. Our dryland training started a little bit later due to the athletes attending and finishing up their schooling. By the end of June, the program was running at full speed with the athletes making gains and getting stronger. It’s been great to watch the creativity of the dryland training program this summer, focusing on time in the gym, at the velodrome and working on gymnastics, aerobics and strength training. The athletes have put in the work, and we are now set-up for a great season ahead.”
The women’s team will be focused on the NorAm and Europa Cup circuits aiming for podium finishes and capturing overall titles. Nullmeyer and Smart are poised to dominate slalom races, while Fleckenstein will be chasing speed in the super-G races and gaining valuable experience and time on downhill tracks.
“Our goal is to manage the development process correctly and have the athletes work their way up through the ranks without burning them out,” said Ryberik of their expected progress this season. “World Cup starts will come, but this year’s big focus will be on the World Junior Championships taking place in the peak of our season.”
Men’s Alpine Development Team
Former Canadian Alpine Ski Team member and World Champion, John Kucera, leads the alpine men’s development team into the 2016-17 season, bringing innate knowledge and expertise to this group of exceptionally talented athletes.
On the team this year, you might recognize a few last names, with three of five athletes having older brothers on the national team. Development team athletes Huston Philp (Banff Alpine Racers), Jeffrey Read (Banff Alpine Racers) and Riley Seger (Whistler Mountain Ski Club) have mentors close to home when it comes to pursuing success on the world stage. New members, Simon Fournier (Mont-Tremblant Ski Club) and Sam Mulligan (Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club) round out the men’s development team.
“I’m really confident with the group of guys we have this year,” said Kucera about the team heading into the season. “We’ll be primarily focused on the NorAm circuit and looking ahead to the World Junior Championships. It’s great to have a young group of athletes that we can start establishing early and working to build their exposure to the international level.”
The men have been busy in the gym all summer and will see snow in late August and into the fall with a dedicated development team camp in October.
Jack Crawford, 2015-16 member of the development team, who is now skiing for the National Team, captured second-place in the super G at the World Junior Championships, is leaving behind a legacy of success for the current team to aspire to.
Release from Alpine Canada Alpin