“MADE FOR CANADA” Strategic Plan launch to make Canada a world-leading ski racing nation

“MADE FOR CANADA” Strategic Plan launch to make Canada a world-leading ski racing nation

Calgary, AB [June 21, 2021] – Today, Alpine Canada announced its ambitious five-year strategic plan, “Made for Canada – The Future for Ski Racing in Canada,” aimed at making Canada a world-leading ski racing nation in alpine, para-alpine, and ski cross through two Olympic and Paralympic cycles. 

Specifically, the strategic plan aims to help Canada top the medal rankings in para-alpine and ski cross and achieve a top-five finish in alpine medal rankings at the Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games by 2026. 

“Since I joined Alpine Canada last year, we have sought feedback from hundreds of athletes, coaches, alumni, sponsors, provincial and territorial sport organizations, and our sport and funding partners about the ways that we can build upon Canada’s rich history and tradition of ski racing excellence,” said Therese Brisson, President and CEO of Alpine Canada. “In a year that we celebrated 100 years of ski racing, we took the opportunity to rethink our strategy to ensure it best meets the needs of our athletes and carves a path towards a better future for the broader ski community as we kick off the next century.  The plan articulates the vision, priorities, and commitments needed to be a world-leading ski racing nation and achieve our dual mission to increase podium performances and inspire growth in participation and fans.”

The strategic plan addresses our challenges and identifies four “where to play” strategies to help deliver on this mission:

  1. Lead earlier Next Gen athlete development;
  2. Build domestic capacity for ski racing excellence in coaching, member services, & safe sport;
  3. Produce race events that excite Canadians; and  
  4. Build brand strength with a broader audience.  

“We are optimistic about our future and focused on building capacity and resources to deliver on our ambitions,” said Tim Dattels, Chair of the Board of Alpine Canada.  “We see a convergence of dynamics – new leadership, renewed strategic focus, a newly-elected FIS President with a North American growth agenda, and the potential for a 2030 Vancouver/Whistler bid – that could make this one of the most exciting decades for ski racing in Canada, ever.”

Built on the values of excellence, leadership, accountability, respect, and courage, and grounded in our nation-building purpose of powering a nation to peak performance by inspiring Canadians to be at their very best, the strategic plan makes the following commitments to achieve these results:  

  • Develop a pipeline of National Team caliber Canadian coaches;
  • Identify Next Gen talent earlier at U14 and provide world-class coaching to achieve World Junior Championship podiums;
  • Build long-term resort partnerships to establish national training hubs for spring and early-winter, on-snow training at scale, domestically;
  • Lead national high-performance programs that progress junior athletes from World Junior to World Championship podiums;
  • Rebuild a robust domestic national competition structure that includes the National Championships, NorAm Continental Cups, and a National FIS Canada Cup to support athlete development and grow revenue; and 
  • Develop world class assets and an integrated digital platform to strengthen brand and drive fan and revenue growth.

Alpine Canada has already begun executing upon the initiatives captured in the strategic plan, which can be found with Key Performance Indicators measuring successful delivery here

Alpine Canada President & CEO Therese Brisson will host Open Town Halls to share the Made For Canada strategic plan with the broader ski community on June 22 at 7pm ET / 5pm MT (English content) and June 28 at 7pm ET / 5PM MT (French content). Click to register for the live video conference here.  

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For more information or media inquiries please contact
Brianne Law I Director, Brand and Product 
media@alpinecanada.org I 587-999-4241

About Alpine Canada
Alpine Canada is the governing body for alpine, para-alpine, and ski cross racing in Canada, as well as for Canadian ski coaches, providing education, certification, insurance, and compliance with the coaching code of conduct. With the support of valued corporate partners and donors, along with the Government of Canada, Own the Podium, the Canadian Olympic Committee, and the Coaching Association of Canada, Alpine Canada develops Olympic, Paralympic, World Championship, and World Cup athletes to stimulate visibility, inspiration, and growth in the ski community. In 2020-21, Alpine Canada celebrated 100 years of rich tradition in competitive skiing in Canada.

Seven athletes named to 2021 BC Ski Team ‘Summer Training Group’

Seven athletes named to 2021 BC Ski Team ‘Summer Training Group’

BC Alpine is very excited to announce the naming of 7 athletes to the BC Summer Training Group. This group is already four weeks into centralized dryland training in Whistler, where they are working six days a week on a range of activities from lifting, yoga, biking, hiking, running and more.

BCST Summer Training Group for Summer 2020

Returning team members:

  • Marcus Athans (2000)  – Kelowna BC, Apex Ski Club/Okanagan Ski Team
  • Heiko Ihns (2002) – Castlegar BC, Red Mountain Racers/Kootenay Zone Team
  • Tait Jordan (2002)  – North Vancouver, Whistler Mountain Ski Club
  • Nathan Romanin (2001) – Squamish, Whistler Mountain Ski Club
  • Gerrit van Soest (2000) – Vernon Ski Club/OST

New additions:

  • Heming Sola (2003) – Summerland BC, Apex Ski Club/Okanagan Ski Team
  • Dylan Timm (2002) – Fernie BC, Fernie Alpine Ski Team/Kootenay Zone Team

Additionally, BC Alpine is thrilled to announce that Asher Jordan has made The Canadian National Ski Team for the upcoming season. After an incredibly successful 2020 season that saw Asher win his first NorAm, claim three other overall NorAm podiums and also start three World Cups, he has fully met “C” team criteria.  He will join three other former BC Team athletes, Sam Mulligan, Riley Seger and Kyle Alexander, as part of what ACA is calling a “Select Group”. This group will spend time, and have support from, both BC Alpine and ACA, and in Riley’s case his NCAA college team.


We have three members that are moving on from the BC Ski Team, we are sad to see them go, but very proud of what they have accomplished so far, and as they set out on new endeavors we are excited to see what they have in store for the future.

Frances MacDonald will be attending Plymouth State University, taking the nursing program and racing on their NCAA team. Frances commented on her time spent with the BC ski team, My biggest take away from the BC Ski Team were the training and racing opportunities I was given. I felt like the team was held to a very high standard that most teams should follow. The staff showed support through my injury recovery, and made it feel possible to be able to compete at the same level again.

Ella Renzoni will be attending The University of Vermont, studying Environmental Sciences, and racing on their NCAA team.  Being on the BCST the past three years has given me the skills that are required to succeed both academically and athletically. The level of intensity that BCST demonstrates reassures me that I am ready and fully capable of succeeding at UVM.

Myles Kowalczyk will be attending the University of British Columbia where he plans to study Psychology, and after a particularly devastating injury last spring Myles has decided to move away from competitive ski racing. After the past year of recovering from injury, I have made the difficult decision to put away the race skis and start an education at UBC. The life experienced that I’ve gained being on the BC Ski Team the last three years has been incredible. Not only was I able to become a skier that I’m proud to be, but the atmosphere, staff and athletes who surrounded me largely shaped who I am as a person today. This is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I’d like to thank the entire BC Ski Team for creating some of the most memorable times in my life so far, helping me through the hardest challenge I’ve ever faced, and for preparing me to be able to tackle whatever may come next in life!

We have a great group heading into this season, having mostly returning athletes has made the start of our dryland camp very smooth. I’m proud of the dryland program that Morgan (Pridy) has designed and the work he and Ryan (Jazic) are currently putting in with our athletes. I also want to congratulate Asher on the amazing year he had, and wish all our graduating athletes’ success in the future. ~ Nick Cooper, BC Alpine Head Coach

BC Alpine is also happy to announce that in conjunction with our Girls Fast Forward initiative, we will be unveiling a female high-performance plan with the goal of helping more girls in BC make the BCST Criteria. The details of this plan will be released in the fall.

I am pleased that the BCST TG is well into summer training getting extremely fit. I am also fired up about the traction the GFF speaker series is getting from female athletes and coaches around the province. There will be some exciting opportunities for female racers in BC coming this fall.  ~ Johnny Crichton, BC Alpine VP

Top photo: Asher Jordan – 2019 BC Ski Team member at 2020 Kitzbuehel World Cup slalom. GEPA pictures/ Patrick Steiner

Disadvantaged Canadian alpine teams embark on ‘catch up’ tour

Disadvantaged Canadian alpine teams embark on ‘catch up’ tour

The good news is, they’re training — actually on snow, training. The bad? The game of “catch up” has just begun. It’s like starting a best-of-seven NHL playoff series down a game or two. The series isn’t over but the chips are stacked against you.

Canada’s national alpine teams have been on snow in Saas Fe, Switzerland and Stelvio, Italy since late July with plans to move over to Zermatt with the speed team in September, picking up where they left off nearly four months earlier when the season was terminated due to the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions.

When the FIS recently announced it had moved up the World Cup openers in Soelden by a week, it put the Canadian alpine teams at a further disadvantage.

“We will definitely be behind the schedule but not to a place where I would say that we’re way off track,” said Phil McNichol, Alpine Canada’s high performance alpine director.

The former U.S. ski team men’s head coach with 42 World Cup victories during his tenure, McNichol is no stranger to adaptation and creative programming to achieve world-class results. And he has chosen the glass-half-full option in looking toward the season.

“We will need to work on training volumes and additional training opportunities but we should be pretty close. As things are playing out we will be right around 30 (days) going into Soelden now that it’s been moved up. You’re going to see Erik Read and others get into the start gate and they’ll be behind many nations who were able to stay on their trajectory of around 60 days (on snow).”

With the premature end to the 2019-20 season and the huge gap of no on-snow training, the Canadian teams may need to look at quality over quantity.

“From the outset we knew it was going to be a big challenge,” he said. “Not only were we facing some daunting financial challenges at the end of the season, but everything was shut down. As we were adjusting and looking at what else could be done in Canada it became quite apparent that it wasn’t feasible to get on snow in Canada and the window started to rapidly close.”

After shifting focus to training options in Europe, McNichol and the coaching staff successfully negotiated a special exemption with the EU, which would allow for early admission, but prior to departure, the EU announced its opening. McNicol aims to keep the document “in our back pocket if things get wonky moving forward.”

Revised race calendar the best route to fair play

It’s no surprise that the FIS continues to make European-friendly decisions without accounting for the ski nations who are unable to train within its own borders. The last active ski glacier in Canada, the Horstman Glacier in Whistler, B.C., shut down permanently and the T-bar removed in July due to deteriorated and unsafe conditions caused from glacial melt. And with the borders to the U.S. closed, the popular option for provincial and club programs, Mount Hood, is no longer an option.

“I’m working hard with the NorAm committee to delay the NorAms this year,” McNichol said. “But there’s still some continental debate about early racing, but I feel relatively confident that the majority of the NorAm calendar will come out starting late January to April.”

McNichol is in the early stages of developing an integrated national alpine structure in Canada, including the Next Gen program, a roster of 12 up-and-coming skiers who will continue within the provincial ski team – or NCAA – systems.

“All of those athletes need to use the NorAm’s as their focal point to matriculate forward in the national team structure and in their quest to make the World Cup. So that gives them some latitude to train in November and December and a good part of January to focus on the 25-30 NorAm starts.”

According to McNichol, the Quebec team is training now in France, with Ontario, Alberta and B.C. provincial teams all preparing for a Europe training block soon.

‘Level playing field’ not a reality

When asked if it would be realistic for FIS to get more involved in regulating the rules of engagement, i.e., the number of days on snow, in an effort to create a level playing field, McNichol provided a thoughtful response to the inner workings of the FIS.

“[The FIS] always have two things at play: the economics and marketing that’s driving things and then the athletic side, or what is better for the athlete in terms of development and preparation,” he explained. “Athletically it would be far better if the World Cup started later when the whole world is ready.”

McNichol believes the worldwide pandemic “shines a light” on some of the structural challenges within the FIS.

“People are thinking, ‘Who’s controlling this thing?’ … haven’t they noticed that some teams are training as in any normal year and then there are those on the sidelines? In general, the FIS operates in this amateurism. You look at the NHL, they are governed as professionals. FIS doesn’t want to take on that responsibility or liability just as they don’t want to be proactive with decisions right now as it’s easier for them if each of the race organizers and countries who are hosting World Cup races take on that decision-making.

“It would have been more of an NHL-style picture if the FIS said early on that they’re going to push the season back, start in Val d’Isere in mid December and move the end of season to April 15. This would give everyone an extra month-and-a-half of training. We know that Norway is training, Sweden’s training up north and we know that the Europeans fired their glaciers back up early. And in the U.S. they can organize some special stuff in Copper Mountain and use Mount Hood.”

McNichol also identifies sourcing local on-snow glacier venue as an important path forward for the Canadian alpine structure.

“Our board is shifting some of their thinking and energy towards the exploration of Canadian glaciers. That need became very apparent in a country that has the most glaciers in the world and we’re the only ones who can’t ski (in the offseason).

“But developing a glacier opportunity is a big endeavor and we have a lot of work to get ready for Beijing and Cortina in the next two Olympic cycles, so we’re going to have to do things that immediately impact us – and for me, the low hanging fruit is that we have to improve our possibilities in Whistler-Blackcomb, in Sunshine and Panorama, even in Sima [Yukon]. We need to turn over every stone with resorts big and small in how we can train as long as possible in the spring and as early as possible in the fall at home in Canada.”

In the meantime, McNichol’s half-full glass and creative leadership should help weather the storm.

“Passion and motivation are not easily taught. This situation has maybe taught us how to appreciate what we have and get the best out of it.”

Alpine Canada announces 2020/2021 Alpine, Para-Alpine & Ski Cross Teams

Alpine Canada announces 2020/2021 Alpine, Para-Alpine & Ski Cross Teams

Canadian Alpine Ski Team – see ACA News  
Calgary, Alta. (June 11, 2020) – As we enter our 100th season Alpine Canada and the Canadian Alpine Ski Team (CAST) are excited to unveil a revamped multi-tier program offering ahead of the 2020/21 season as athletes begin to prepare for the upcoming World Championship and pre-Olympic year. Athlete nominations to the team are based on meeting published CAST nomination criteria. The Canadian Alpine Ski Team nominations guidelines are available at AlpineCanada.org.

2020-21 Canadian Alpine Ski Team World Cup Team – BC Athletes 

  • Cameron Alexander (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  • James (Jack) Crawford (Toronto, ON/ Georgian Peaks Ski Club & Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  • Manuel Osborne-Paradis (Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  • Brodie Seger (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  • Broderick Thompson (Whistler, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)

Four athletes, all from BC, have met C level criteria and are named to a Select Group within CAST. These athletes will compete primarily at the Continental Cup level with opportunities to compete on the World Cup based on performance and quota space. The Select Group is a new approach that will have these CAST Team members train and race with a mix of support from the CAST WC Team and the B.C. Ski Team. 

2020-21 Canadian Alpine Ski Team (Select Group) – BC Athletes

  • Kyle Alexander (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  • Asher Jordan (North Vancouver, B.C./ Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
  • Sam Mulligan (Vancouver, B.C. /Grouse Mountain Tyee Ski Club)
  • Riley Seger (North Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)

In addition to our World Cup and Select Group of ski racers, Alpine Canada is also happy to recognize a group of athletes to the new CAST NextGen Program. This recognition is based on new criteria that have been approved and supported by all PTSOs. This program recognizes alpine athlete’s performance and potential as ski racers in their journey towards the World Cup team. The CAST NextGen Program recognizes our next generation of top ski racers. Sport programming will continue to be provided through the athletes PTSO, in coordination with Alpine Canada. These athletes are an important part of the CAST long-term program and we continue to support their development.

2020-21 Canadian Alpine Ski Team NextGen Program – BC Athlete

  • Stefanie Fleckenstein (Whistler, BC/University of Colorado, BC Ski Team) 
     

Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team – see ACA News 
Calgary, Alta. (June 11, 2020) – As we enter our 100th season, Alpine Canada is excited to name the 2020-21 Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team including two NextGen athletes. The team, which captured 22 World Cup podiums last season looks to keep the momentum going in the right direction as they move into a World Championship season. Athlete nominations to the team are based on meeting nomination criteria. The Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team nominations guidelines are available at AlpineCanada.org.

2020-21 Athletes named to the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team – BC Athlete  

  • Mollie Jepsen (West Vancouver, B.C./Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
     

Canadian Ski Cross Team – see ACA News 
Calgary, Alta. (June 11, 2020) – As we enter our 100th season, Alpine Canada is proud to name 18 athletes to the 2020-21 Canadian Ski Cross Team. The team, which is made up entirely of returning athletes looks to build on a stellar last season which saw them win the overall Nations Cup and team veteran Kevin Drury bring home the crystal globe. Athlete nominations to the team are based on meeting nomination criteria. The Canadian Ski Cross Teamnominations guidelines are available at AlpineCanada.org.

2020-21 Canadian Ski Cross Team – BC Athletes

  • Zoe Chore (Cranbrook, BC/Kimberley Alpine Ski Club) 
  • Tiana Gairns (Prince George, BC/ Prince George Ski Club)
  • Courtney Hoffos (Windermere, BC/Windermere Ski Club)
  • Reece Howden (Cultus Lake, BC/Apex Ski Club)
  • Gavin Rowell (Prince George, BC/Prince George Ski Club)
  • India Sherret (Cranbrook, BC/Kimberley Alpine Team)
  • Antoinette (Annie) Tansley (Calgary, AB/Grouse Moutan Tyee Ski Club and Alberta Ski Cross) 
  • Marielle Thompson (Whistler, BC/Whistler Mountain Ski Club)

* This season marks the 100th anniversary of ski racing in Canada and represents an important building block

as our athletes prepare for the next World Championships, Olympics and Paralympics *

BC Alpine Return to Sport 2020 Guidelines now published and ready for club use

BC Alpine Return to Sport 2020 Guidelines now published and ready for club use

This guideline document is accompanied by our “Example Return to Sport Plan” to allow our clubs to have what we hope is a fast and easy method to jumpstart their own Return to Sport documents and begin planning organized club activities again. The documents are available right now at https://bcalpine.com/files/Policy_Files/COVID-19/Return_to_Sport/

Please carefully read our guidelines before using our example plan to create your club’s own Return to Sport Plan. As well, please make note of another important update regarding “BC Government order protecting amateur sport from COVID-19 Liability“. 

We have also created a “Q&A for BC Alpine Return to Sport” document which we will populate with popular questions as we receive them to help provide a single point of reference for everyone. If you have any questions regarding this process please check there first. If your question is not in the document, direct it to Keven at kevend@bcalpine.com and he will do his best to find the answer for you, and also publish it in this Q&A for others to reference.

 

Karbon and BC Alpine announce new uniform partnership beginning Fall 2020

Karbon and BC Alpine announce new uniform partnership beginning Fall 2020

New partnership between Karbon and BC Alpine sets the stage for an ongoing relationship that will outfit alpine athletes in Karbon gear

Toronto, ON & Vancouver, BC: Karbon and BC Alpine are announcing a new partnership, making Karbon the exclusive apparel and race wear supplier for BC Alpine. Karbon is proud to continue a tradition of supporting amateur ski racing at every level of the sport, whether Olympic, national, provincial or grassroots. In addition to supporting the BC Ski Team, Karbon looks forward to the opportunity to work with BC Alpine member clubs.

Of the new partnership, Peter Schure, VP of Teams and Resorts said, “I am very proud to make BC Alpine part of the Karbon family. This sponsorship exemplifies our commitment to sport at all levels and we look forward to a long and mutually beneficial relationship with BC Alpine and its athletes.”

Anders Hestdalen, CEO of BC Alpine, shared, “We are very happy to partner with Karbon. They are a Canadian company that truly cares about our sport and has a great vision for this partnership. We are excited to be wearing Karbon apparel and race wear next season.”

About Karbon: Karbon is designed and manufactured by Schure Sports – leaders in advancing quality products for winter sports since 1982. Schure Sports is a privately held, family-owned business based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. We are proud to support athletes at all levels of sport with apparel that delivers unparalleled performance and function. Karbon – Schure Sports, 345 Connie Crescent, Toronto, ON, L4K 5R2

About BC Alpine:  BC Alpine´s vision is to inspire skiers for life and develop world class athletes. The mission is to lead and govern the sport of Alpine Ski Racing in BC, to provide leadership and structure for clubs to deliver high quality, sustainable and affordable programing and to communicate the competitive, recreational and lifestyle benefits of ski racing to the community. BC Alpine has been operating for more than 60 years. BC Alpine Ski Association, 403 – 1788 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V6J 1Y1