VAIL, USA (Nov. 8, 2012) — Fifteen of North America’s most talented young alpine skiers are taking part in a Rising Stars camp in Vail, Colorado, as part of a groundbreaking partnership between Alpine Canada and the United States Ski and Snowboard Association.
Ten girls and five boys aged 14 and 15 – eight from Canada and seven from the U.S. – are skiing and studying at the development camp under the watchful eye of a group of coaches.
The initiative – the first collaboration of its kind between the two national sports organizations – builds on the pioneering program launched by former Alpine Canada president Ken Read and Mark Sharp in the lead-up to the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. This is the first time since 2010 the program has been in place. Alumni from the original Rising Stars program include Erin Mielzynski, of Guelph, Ont., the first Canadian since 1971 to win a slalom World Cup race, overall Nor-Am champion Erik Read, of Calgary, Alta., and current Canadian Alpine Ski Team members Trevor Philp, also of Calgary, Toronto’s Phil Brown and Madison Irwin, as well as ski cross World Cup winner Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta.
“Bringing kids together in a high-level training environment with their peers from other nations helps benchmark opportunities back home,” said Nigel Cooper, Alpine Canada’s manager of athlete development. “Training, socializing, studying and eating with our U.S. teammates will help lead us to the promised land of competing with the world’s best skiers. I couldn’t be more excited about the future as we build back this great program.”
The camp began on Nov. 1 and goes through to Nov. 11 at Golden Peak in Vail. Athletes study for an hour after breakfast, ski for 2.5 hours and then do more studying in the afternoon. The camp has included three days of slalom training, with one of those days on injected snow, and a block of giant slalom training. At the end of the slalom block the athletes also went bowling with Canadian Alpine Ski Team stars Ben Thomsen, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, Robbie Dixon and Conrad Pridy – who are training nearby.
"This is a great opportunity to unite some of the top U16 athletes in both Canada and the U.S. for this pre-season training camp in Vail, which has been extremely productive,” said USSA TEAM Academy head coach Thomas Erhard. “We look forward to future co-operation with our friends north of the border.”
As part of the collaboration between Alpine Canada and the USSA, the two organizations will work together to support the CanAm Race Series that takes place in the East (Sugarloaf, USA) and West (Panorama, B.C.) for U14 and U16 racers.
Stepanie Currie, Ont. (Osler Bluff), Alexandra Lacasse Courshesne, Que. (Mont Olympia), Tori Hislop, Man. (Summitt Ski Club), Mikayla Martin, B.C. (Whistler Mountain Ski Club), Georgia Willinger, Alta. (Kananaskis), Frédéric Courville, Que. (Mont Olympia), Keegan Sharp, B.C. (Team Panorama) and Sam Mulligan, B.C. (Grouse Mountain Ski Club)
USSA TEAM Academy athletes:
Isabella Wright (Jackson Hole), Molly Leavens (Park City), Stephanie Lebby (Squaw Valley), Megan McGrew (Vail), Storm Klomhaus (Winter Park), River Radamus (Vail) and Ian Griffith (Park City)
Danielle Robson (Grouse Tyee), Martin Nadeau (Laurentian Division), Pierre Luc Dumoulin (Alberta Alpine), Nigel Cooper (Alpine Canada) and USSA Team Academy Head Coach Thomas Erhard
ABOUT ALPINE CANADA ALPIN
Alpine Canada Alpin 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.