WHISTLER, B.C. (May 24, 2012) – Ski cross racer Stanislas ‘Stan’ Rey is taking his love of big air and tricks into a new career in freeskiing.
The 2010 Canadian and Nor-Am ski cross champion, a member of the all-conquering national team since 2010 and formerly an alpine skier, has decided to retire from ski racing.
The 24-year-old, of Whistler, B.C., has a contract with Salomon and is hoping to become a freeskiing video star in the years to come.
“My dream was always to go to the Olympics but in the back of my mind I knew I would go into big mountain or freeskiing one day,” said Rey, who was born in Switzerland but moved to Whistler when he was seven. “You have to be 100 per cent into what you are doing or you will never be successful. My true passion for the sport is skiing powder, getting air and jumping cliffs, that kind of thing. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while.”
Ski racing is in Rey’s blood and his family’s connection to the sport helped fuel his early goals as a multi-discipline alpine skier.
“My grandpa, René Rey, went to two Olympics and competed in downhill and slalom,” Rey said. “He was in the 1952 Olympics in (Oslo), Norway and the 1956 Games in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy – for Switzerland . . .
“I always had this dream to go to the Olympics. I was in alpine and then changed that (dream) to ski cross. My dad was also on the Swiss development team, so ski racing was in the family.”
Rey, a former member of the B.C. Ski Team, made the switch to ski cross prior to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games.
“Before I even raced Nor-Ams the (Canadian ski cross team) offered me a job as a tech,” Rey said. “I worked as a tech for the team, full-time from November leading up to the Olympics. I got four World Cup starts in that period where I’d go to bed around midnight and try to race the next day.”
After winning the Nor-Am title, Rey spent two full seasons on the World Cup tour as a member of the national team. His best World Cup result was a 14th-place finish in Blue Mountain, Ont., in 2011, but his career highlight was a fourth-place result at X Games, also in 2011.
“X Games is the coolest event,” said Rey, the longtime partner of 2011 X Games gold medallist and reigning world champion Kelsey Serwa, of Kelowna, B.C. “I wish I could have passed the guy in front of me and finished third, but coming fourth was pretty awesome, for sure.”
Tristan Tafel, of Canmore, Alta., came up through the alpine circuit a few years after Rey and recalls noticing his skills right away.
“He’s known for backflipping, 360s, jumps,” Tafel said. “I followed him at X Games for my first run down the track. That was a pretty cool thing – he led me down.
“I’ve always enjoyed freeskiing with Stan the most. He’s always finding great lines. He’s always pushed it in that aspect. I’ve thought for a long time that big mountain is going to be part of his skiing career. He’s finally choosing that path, which is really cool. I’m super happy for him to make the switch but I’m really going to miss him.”
Eric Archer, head coach of the Canadian ski cross team, said Rey’s natural talent will stand him in good stead in the next chapter of his skiing career.
“He’s going to do well in big mountain. It’s going to fit his personality,” Archer said of the laid back, Whistler Mountain Ski Club racer. “Based on his results last year I think he was coming up as a ski cross talent. I’m sorry we are losing him but I think he’s going to have success.”
Ski cross world champion Chris Del Bosco, of Montreal, Que., describes Rey as a “super-talented skier.”
“I was fortunate enough to room with him at a few races and he was a really happy go lucky guy,” Del Bosco said. “He was always working really hard and I wish him all the best in the next chapter of his career. He’s going to do really well.”
Rey is the third member of the Canadian ski cross team to leave the sport this summer. Davey Barr, of Whistler, B.C., and Brian Bennett, of Quesnel, B.C., recently announced their retirement from ski racing. Meanwhile, former alpine World Cup skier Louis-Pierre Hélie, of Berthierville, Que., has switched to ski cross and will be part of the prospect training group this summer.
Rey, who is currently working a summer construction job, is hoping to get the chance to produce freeskiing videos with some major ski companies. He plans to take part in some competitions and may also make a brief return to ski racing and skier X at next year’s X Games, provided he’s able to qualify.
“The next few years I’ll try to film with a big ski company. My ultimate goal is to get a heli-ski trip to Alaska,” Rey said. “Everyone on the ski cross team has been super encouraging. At first I was pretty intimidated by everyone but we’ve all become pretty good friends. Being part of a team and hanging out with everyone was really cool.
“It’s been a lot of fun, for sure, but I’m excited about making a change and looking forward to seeing what I can do in freeskiing.”
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