Alpine Canada has named 10 promising skiers to its national alpine development team, which aims to foster the talents of young, up-and-coming athletes gunning to be the next generation of Canadians on the World Cup, World Championship and Olympic podium.
Five men and five women aged 17-21 will make up the national development team, which was reintroduced last year for the 2013-14 season following a hiatus.
“The philosophy behind this year’s development team is to really take a deep dive and look at the most talented athletes in the country, and give them a multi-year opportunity to develop in our system with quality programming and quality coaches, so that they will be ready to make the next step to the Continental Cup circuit at an internationally competitive level,” said Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sports.
“It’s about looking at the whole age range of prospective athletes, and picking those who are showing the most talent and skill.”
Twenty-six U21 athletes from across Canada attended an evaluation camp at Sunshine Village, Alta., this month, where they were given the opportunity to showcase their skills on traditional and non-traditional training courses in all disciplines – even the ski cross track – to help evaluate their technical skills and their abilities to adapt to unexpected circumstances. Ten standouts from the camp were named to the team.
Mikaela Tommy, from Wakefield, Que., Candace Crawford, of Toronto, Ont., Mont-Tremblant, Que.’s Valérie Grenier, and Roni Remme, from Blue Mountains, Ont., head the ladies’ roster as the only returning athletes from last season’s development team. Tommy and Crawford were named to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team last week, but will race between both the World Cup and the development team. Also named to the women’s team is Jocelyn McCarthy, from Spruce Grove, Alta.
A fresh-faced roster makes up the men’s team, which includes Jack Crawford of Toronto, Invermere, B.C.’s Martin Grasic, Lambert Quezel, of Montreal, Que., Brodie Seger, from North Vancouver, B.C., and Whistler, B.C.’s Broderick Thompson – brother of Olympic ski cross gold medallist Marielle Thompson.
Like Tommy and Candace Crawford, two members of last season’s men’s development team, Ford Swette, of North Vancouver, B.C., and Morgan Megarry, from Collingwood, Ont., successfully made the jump to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team this season.
“In its first year back (2013-14), the development team program – working on a limited budget – was able to develop the athletes very well in a short period of time,” Kristofic said.
“Quite a few of last year’s development team athletes were able to translate results into qualifying for the upcoming season’s national team. The qualification level for athletes entering the national team stream was significantly higher this year. The athletes who qualified for this year’s national team fully earned those spots with great results, which I think reflect the success of the development team programming and how it prepares athletes for the next level.
“In the type of environment that a solid development team breeds, it encourages athletes to feed off of each other and feed off of good coaching; it makes great strides in helping to close the gap on our international competition, while developing skills and an athlete mindset that will last a lifetime.”
Kip Harrington will continue to lead the men’s development team as head coach, and former Olympian John Kucera, who last month retired from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team and has since transitioned to coaching, will also help to coach the men’s team. Peter Rybarik will remain at the helm of the women’s development team as head coach.
At this season’s development team recruitment camp, the youngest athletes, who will be the next wave of development skiers, also showed that Canada’s future in ski racing is bright, Kristofic added.
“We had the opportunity to work with Canada’s best and brightest U21 athletes,” Kristofic said. “We were particularly excited by the future of a talented group of U18 prospects, who are, without a doubt, on the right track and are on our radar. We look forward to collaborating more with Canada’s Provincial Sport Organizations and having more face time with these young athletes as they continue to develop.”
2014-15 Canadian Alpine Development Ski Team
|Candace Crawford||F||11/04/1994||Toronto, Ont.|
|Jack Crawford||M||03/05/1997||Toronto, Ont.|
|Martin Grasic||M||25/03/1995||Invermere, B.C.|
|Valérie Grenier||F||30/10/1996||Mont-Tremblant, Que.|
|Jocelyn McCarthy||F||08/11/1996||Spruce Grove, Alta.|
|Lambert Quezel||M||16/02/1996||Montreal, Que.|
|Roni Remme||F||14/02/1996||Blue Mountains, Ont.|
|Brodie Seger||M||28/12/1995||North Vancouver, B.C.|
|Broderick Thompson||M||19/04/1994||Whistler, B.C.|
|Mikaela Tommy||F||10/05/1995||Wakefield, Que.|
For more info, see www.alpinecanada.org.
Photo of Mikaela Tommy Courtesy of Alpine Canada.
SnowOnline Editor: Lori Knowles