Calgary, Alta. (October 12, 2016) – And just like that, the FIS Alpine Skiing World Cup season is just a few short weeks away from kicking off! After the gruelling months of pre-season preparation in the gym and countless runs this summer on-snow, athletes will be charging out of the start gate and storming the circuit chasing down podium finishes.
The 2016-17 season marks a World Championship year and the last full season before the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic Games. Every race will count towards meeting criteria to compete for Canada in less than 17 months time. For the next generation of alpine stars, sights will be set on reclaiming titles at the World Junior Ski Championships in Are, Sweden in March.
“We’re looking to better last year’s three alpine podiums and I know we have the talent, consistency, and grit to see that through,” said Martin Rufener, Alpine Athletic Director. “From veterans like Erik Guay, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, and Marie-Michèle Gagnon, to the next generation of alpine greats who saw personal best finishes last year like Candace Crawford and Trevor Philp, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team is stacked with the ability to stand on the podium.”
The men’s team is loaded with veteran speed demons who will be once again led by head coach Burkhard Schaffer. Erik Guay took home bronze in the 2015-16 super G World Cup Finals on the same track where this year’s World Championships will be held in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Dustin Cook, 2015 World Championship super G silver medalist and two-time World Cup podium finisher, is back after an injury that took him out of the running last season. Manuel Osborne-Paradis made a big equipment change this summer and will be charging downhill and super-G courses on HEAD skis.
“It’s been a long road back to where I left off in 2015,” said Cook. “I’m happy to be back on snow and back on my skis feeling confident in my ability and my recovery. I can’t wait to be pushing out of start gates and getting right back to where I left off.”
The men’s technical group is chock-full of young talent looking for breakout seasons. Head coach, Paolo De Florian, leads the likes of Trevor Philp into the 2016-17 season where he will be looking to better his career-best 14th-place slalom finish on the famed Kitzbühel, Austria track. 2015-16 Nor-Am overall champion, Erik Read, qualified to start in all World Cup races this season and rounded out the 2015-16 season by finishing in third in the slalom at the Canadian Championships. 2015 World Championship Team Event silver medalist, Phil Brown, will be heading into the season on new equipment after joining the Marker Völkl Dalbello family.
Jack Crawford will be focused and determined, looking to better his second-place super G podium finish at the 2017 World Junior Ski Championships in Are, Sweden, as well as looking to gain consistency and momentum on the Nor-Am circuit.
Athletic Director: Martin Rufener
The women’s team will again be led by veteran World Cup star Marie-Michèle Gagnon, who heads into the season with two medals from the 2015-16 season, including a victory from the alpine combined race in Soldeu, Andora and a third-place finish in the Crans Montana, Switzerland slalom. Technical specialist and World Cup slalom winner, Erin Mielzynski will be looking for redemption on the circuit in the disco sticks this season after rounding out last year with a season-best fourth-place best finish in Aspen, Colorado. 22-year-old rising star Candace Crawford captured her first World Cup top ten finish last season in alpine combined and will be looking to better that result in both the technical and speed disciplines.
“There’s a lot on the line for us this season with it being a World Championship year,” said Gagnon. “We have had a great summer of training and we have really meshed well as a team. It feels great going into the new season with two podium finishes from last year. I’m feeling strong and determined heading into the season!”
2016 World Junior Ski Championship downhill winner and super G silver medalist, Valérie Grenier, will be back on the World Cup and Nor-Am circuits again this year, looking for big results on both tours.
Athletic Director: Martin Rufener