ZERMATT, SUI (July 20, 2011) — Trevor Philp has a lot of responsibilities to juggle as a national team rookie and a student at the University of Denver, but carrying skis to the top of the hill wasn’t one of them at the start of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team camp in Zermatt, Switzerland.
The 20-year-old from Calgary, Alta., one of Canada’s most promising up-and-coming skiers, won a bet with teammate Mike Janyk, of Whistler, B.C., that resulted in the World Cup veteran having to haul the youngster’s boards up the mountain for four straight days.
“It goes back to a bike test I did in May,” Philp explains. “Mike said if I made so many watts, he would carry my skis. It ended up being that the first four days of skiing he was carrying my skis up top.
“The guys have been great and it’s been a good trip so far. It’s nice to be part of the team.”
Philp has had an incredible 12 months. After enrolling at the University of Denver last year, he took part in four slalom races for the Pioneers and won three of them, while finishing third in the other. Unfortunately, the NCAA championships – for which he held the No. 1 seed in slalom – overlapped with the world junior alpine championships, which he opted to race instead. He ended up finishing fourth in slalom and seventh in giant slalom at the world juniors.
Philp also made his World Cup debut in Adelboden, Switzerland, in January, and claimed World Cup spots in giant slalom and slalom by being one of the top two North Americans in each discipline on the Nor-Am circuit. Philp then put the icing on the cake by beating Janyk – and a few other veterans – to claim the national slalom title at the Canadian championships in Quebec.
“I’ve got a giant slalom and slalom spot (for 2012-13) and I think I will try to use them. It’s a huge opportunity and I should try to make the most of it,” Philp said. “I’m going to have to create much more of a balance with school and World Cup. Last year was do-able. I was doing lots of Nor-Ams, which worked well because so many were based around Colorado.
This year, I’ll try to pick up a couple of races and hopefully I can qualify for the (NCAA) championships. I’m still deciding how it’s all going to work out.”
Philp’s World Cup debut was memorable for several different reasons as the youngster had to battle through tough snow conditions and fog after starting 70th. He produced a battling performance but didn’t qualify for the second run.
“It was awesome – a really cool experience,” Philp said. “I was starting at the back of the pack but it was really cool. It was great to get a taste of the big stage.
“I would like to try to get some top 30 results this year with a good start position and a World Cup spot. I would like to really try to punch (into) the top 30 and start scoring points.”
Philp and teammates Janyk, Trevor White, of Calgary, Alta., Jean-Philippe Roy, of Ste-Flavie, Que., did five days of giant slalom skiing in Zermatt before the camp was interrupted by weather issues and mechanical problems. Fellow tech ace Julien Cousineau, of Lachute, Que., is doing well as he continues his recovery from injury and will be back on snow shortly. Brad Spence, of Calgary, Alta., who had knee surgery at the end of the season, is back on his bike and recovering well but is not yet ready for a return to snow. The tech group is now in the middle of a block of slalom training. The men’s speed team is also in Zermatt for its first camp of the summer, as is the women’s team.
“The camp is going very well,” said Kip Harrington, the men’s alpine team’s technical head coach. “We had five excellent days and then unfortunately four days off. Regardless, it’s still been great for them. We are looking forward to the next three days. It would be great to finish strong.”
Philp has had a lot of success in slalom over the past year but is planning to continue working on his giant slalom skills and hopes to race both disciplines moving forward. Harrington said Philp has made a good start to his national team career after being formally named to the group earlier this summer.
“It’s great to have a new guy like Trevor. The guys like him – he’s focused, he’s smart,” Harrington said. “Trevor went a lot further than Mike expected on the (bike test). He's pretty fit and he’s been living and training at altitude. At the next testing Mike said we can go double or nothing but Trevor said no. But Mike said he would carry his skis and he delivered!”
Janyk picks up the story.
"Ya it was probably not my best bet I've ever made," said the 2009 world championship bronze medallist. "Zermatt's not the best place to lug four pairs of skis up to!
"How it all started was we were in testing and I had a pretty decent test and so to give Trevor a little motivation I guess I said, 'Hey, by every stage you beat me by I'll carry your skis for a day.' I was really thinking, 'Ah I'll give him a little thing to shoot for and I probably won't have to carry his skis at all.' But Trevor's very unassuming and I grossly underestimated his strength on the bike and then I misread the tester's sheet which had his starting bike numbers on, so I thought he was starting from a way lower point then me, indicating he wasn't super strong. Well, I ended up eating my words and he crushed me by four stages, so I had to carry his skis for four days."
Janyk, one of the world's best slalom skiers, said there were a few hidden benefits to losing the bet.
"My arms got a lot stronger carrying his skis up - ha ha," he said. "It was all fun and on the positive side for me, it gave me huge motivation to step up my testing for our second time in the lab - right before the camp in Zermatt. I closed the gap between us to only one stage. So I can't say how much it motivated and pushed him but it definitely gave me a little extra to push for in our second testing."
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