BC Ski Team racers Stephanie Gartner and Ford Swette were among the 13 skiers named to the new-formed national development team.
Alpine Canada made the announcement last weekend of the program that aims to nurture the talents of the nation’s best young ski racers and build the next generation of World Cup and Olympic champions.
The 20-year-old Swette, from the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, had an impressive 2012-13 season, scoring five FIS victories, including a Nor-Am win in Vail, Colo., in February. Swette is the top ranked giant slalom skier his age in Canada and eighth overall in that discipline.
Gartner, 16, from the Fernie Alpine Ski Team, made some impressive strides in her young career earning 13 podium finishes and four victories on the FIS circuit.
“With this opportunity it's really feels like this is the next step up the ladder,” Swette commented. “I had been on the BC team for so long that's all I had grown to know. Now with a whole new team of guys and new coaches, it's a huge change. But a nice one. However, I’m still going to miss my old team very much, especially Dykster. He is the reason I am here now.”
“We’re proud of Ford and Stef for reaching this milestone and reaching their next step in the sport,” said Gordie Bowles, BC Alpine Athletic Director.
Canada hasn’t had a full-time development team for two years but Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sport, said it’s essential to develop a group of alpine racers who could potentially compete for Olympic medals in 2018 and 2022.
“From Day 1 it’s been one of my biggest goals to bring a development team back. I’m delighted we have been able to do this,” Kristofic said. “Most of the current crop of podium athletes competing as members of our national team came out of the development group. The time to invest in our pipeline is now.”
The 13 skiers aged 16 to 21 – seven women and six men – will be led by veteran coaches Kip Harrington and Peter Rybarik.
Vincent Lajoie – 1993 – Sherbrooke, Que. – Orford – Quebec
Morgan Megarry – 1993 – Collingwood, Ont. – Craigleith/U of V – Ontario
William Schuessler-Bédard – 1993 – St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que. – Sutton – Quebec
William St-Germain – 1992 – St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. – Mont-Ste-Anne – Quebec
Chris Steinke – 1993 – Chelsea, Que. – Mont-Ste-Marie – Quebec
Ford Swette – 1993 – North Vancouver, B.C. – Whistler Mountain Ski Club – B.C.
Candace Crawford – 1994 – Toronto, Ont. – Georgian Peaks – Ontario
Stephanie Gartner – 1996 – Calgary, Alta. – Fernie Alpine Ski Team – B.C.
Valérie Grenier – 1996 – Mont-Tremblant, Que. – Mont-Tremblant – Quebec
Roni Remme – 1996 – Collingwood, Ont. – National Ski Academy – Ontario
Julia Roth – 1993 – Waterloo, Ont. – Devil's Glen – Ontario
Laurence St-Germain – 1994 – St-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. – Mont-Ste-Anne – Quebec
Mikaela Tommy – 1995 – Wakefield, Que. – Edelweiss – Quebec