By Sam Cortes, Communications Coordinator
Alpine ski will showcase four events at the Canada Winter Games: slalom, giant slalom, super-G, and ski cross.
Team Toba won’t finalize their roster until mid January, but right now, Head Coach Bob Lawrie is working with the hopefuls to sharpen their skills for the national stage.
Just last month, they were in Canmore, Alberta for a training camp with the provincial skiers, some of whom fall into the Canada Games program.
This winter, they’ll also do some important fitness testing and participate in races in Minnesota for competitive practice.
“It’s Usually NCAA athletes from the US who are there on scholarships,” said Bob. “A lot of them are Europeans and they are former national team athletes from Europe, so it’s a very high level of competition.”
A Team Result
In addition to the physical training, Bob said he and the team have been discussing the different things they want to accomplish for PEI.
“It’s different for Canada Games, because it’s no longer an individual sport. It’s very much a team result,” said Bob. “You can have one person that wins the race and everyone else crashes – that’s not a good team result. That’s a great individual result. So, we talk about making sure their minds are in the right place, and that’s also going to be used in their training as well.”
The Sport (And Life) Experience
Before arriving at a Canada Games, the athletes are prepared by their coaches and mission staff on what to expect.
That is, the competition, the athlete’s village, the spectators, the overall atmosphere, and so on.
But there’s possible scenarios they’ll encounter that might surprise them, and they have to be prepared for the unknown, too.
“We’ve had vehicles, the motors have blown up on our way back to Winnipeg to get a flight and we’ve had to jump on a train,” said Bob. “[So] they know how to travel. They know all the obstacles that get in the way. There’s time zones, there’s delays in flights and buses, and flat tires and everything else. If you’re not ready for that, then you’re not ready for the Games.”
By the end of the event, athletes will walk away with some fantastic memories, but also some grit and life experience.
Opportunities on the Horizon
Bob explains the Canada Games are not the end of the road for the athletes, but rather a key step in their development.
In fact, immediately after Games, the competition schedule is teeming with competition.
“We have another four competition weekends or weeks that we’re going to be doing until April 1st.”