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Bright sunshine, hard snow and the best downhill racers in the world on the Olympic course completed the scenery of the second day of training for the Lake Louise World Cup downhill. And to open the show, a bunch of young skiers were chosen to forerun the course.
Among them, Ben, a member of the BC Ski Team, who is entering his second year with the team, is discovering a brand new world. Indeed, this 19 year old athlete, a native of Richmond (BC) had the chance to be in the forerunners' team for the first time in his young career.
Yesterday morning, he started his second run and expressed some of his impressions at the finish area.
“Wednesday, I think I felt lucky to get to the bottom of the course. After the first ten seconds, I fell behind. The course was bumpy and I made a lot of mistakes but I had a lot of fun in the jumps where I felt more confident,” said a smiling Ben.
Thursday, he had more confidence and knew exactly where to give his all. His skiing was softer.
“For me, it didn't make a big difference to start on this course instead of another. I've run on this slope twice for the Nor-Ams. But the level of difficulty is quite different this time. The line is straighter therefore the speed is higher. The turns are more challenging too and you have to stay solid on your skis.”
His coach, Dale Stephens, offered the same advice he always does before Ben races. “He reminded me the things on which I had to focus, to take the best possible line and to ski fast!” he added enthusiastically.
These few days at Lake Louise are offering Ben an incredible experience. He's mixing with the greatest downhillers in the world and according to them, he's getting precious advice. “It is amazing to see these skiers at the start warming up and visualizing their course.”
It is also a major change for him to get to the finish that is surrounded by the media. “Usually, we don't see too many people at our races. Here, it is super to see all these cameras pointed at you.”
His goal? To qualify for the World Junior Championships. To reach that goal, he has to obtain great results during the next Nor-Am races.
Best of luck this season Ben!