Canadian speed specialist Louis-Pierre Hélie, pictured here in Wengen, Switzerland in January, will switch to ski cross next winter. (photo: Pentaphoto/Marco Trovati)

Canada’s 2012-13 Alpine Ski Team Named

Calgary (AB), Canada -Twenty-nine athletes were named to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team on Thursday as Alpine Canada continues its preparations for the 2012-13 World Cup season and the 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.

The squad of 19 men and 10 women features three new additions and nine racers who have recorded World Cup or world championship podiums – including reigning world downhill champion Erik Guay, who has 17 top-three World Cup results. Leaving the men’s team is Olympian and World Cup speed skier Louis-Pierre Hélie, who has opted instead to pursue a career in ski cross.

Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Quebec, headlines the men’s team that features several racers returning from injury.  Meanwhile, Erin Mielzynski, of Guelph, Ontario – who last season became the first Canadian to win a World Cup slalom race since 1971 – and fellow podium newcomer Marie-Michèle Gagnon, of Lac-Etchemin, Quebec, are part of a youthful women’s team.

“It’s the start of three very important years for us with world championships, the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games and then the 2015 world championships,” said Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sports. “The goal is come into the season with a healthy team, a full complement of podium-potential racers, and to try to defend our streak of world championship podiums. We’re very much looking forward to that challenge.”

Men’s Team

Calgary’s Jan Hudec – the top-performing Canadian alpine racer on the World Cup circuit in 2011-12 – is part of a speed squad that includes Guay, Kucera, downhiller Ben Thomsen, of Invermere, British Columbia, returning star and three-time World Cup winner Manuel Osborne-Paradis, of Vancouver, British Columbia, plus Robbie Dixon, of Whistler, British Columbia, who came agonizingly close to his first World Cup podium with a fourth-place finish in super G in Beaver Creek, Colo., in 2011.

Canadian speed specialist Louis-Pierre Hélie, pictured here in Wengen, Switzerland in January, will switch to ski cross next winter. (photo: Pentaphoto/Marco Trovati)

Canadian speed specialist Louis-Pierre Hélie, pictured here in Wengen, Switzerland in January, will switch to ski cross next winter. (photo: Pentaphoto/Marco Trovati)

Hélie, however, is looking forward to experiencing the thrill of head-to-head racing after making the switch from alpine to ski cross. The 26-year-old from Berthierville, Quebec, who previously entered several ski cross races during his youth at Quebec’s Mont-Sainte-Anne, is hoping to carve out a new career as a member of the Canadian ski cross team following a seven-year stint as a national team skier specializing in downhill, super G and super combined that concluded by winning the downhill title at the U.S. national championships in Aspen, Colo., in February..

“It’s a big change but everyone is supporting me,” said Hélie, who will begin the transition to ski cross at prospect training group sessions that will be held on- and off-snow throughout the summer. “I really like racing when guys are around you – it makes you push yourself to the max. Passing people and taking chances – ski cross is really exciting.”

Michael Janyk, of Whistler, British Columbia, Julien Cousineau, of Lachute, Quebec, and Calgary duo Brad Spence and Trevor White lead an experienced men’s slalom team, while Jean-Philippe Roy, of Sainte-Flavie, Quebec, returns as the team’s giant slalom specialist. Overall Nor-Am champion Erik Read, of Calgary, is one of several talented youngsters on the men’s squad, which also includes national team newcomers Trevor Philp, 20, of Calgary – a student at the University of Denver who is a former member of the Raymond James Alberta Ski Team – and Whistler’s Conrad Pridy, of the B.C. Ski Team. Pridy, 23, is the older brother of fellow national team member Morgan Pridy, 21.

“Trevor (Philp) was a named prospect athlete and he showed he’s an amazing talent,” Kristofic said of the 2012 Canadian slalom champion. “We are working with him to balance school in the U.S. and starting to race in the World Cup. Conrad (Pridy) is a great story of an athlete who fought his way from invitee status to full-time status. For him, building consistency will be the key.”

Philp is looking forward to completing the step up to the national team after making his World Cup debut in Adelboden, Switzerland, in January.

“I’m very excited,” said Philp, who is currently wrapping up his school year in Denver. “The plan is to come to Calgary in June and start working out. I’m very pleased to be joining the Canadian team.”

Women’s Team

On the women’s side, veteran speed stars Kelly VanderBeek, of Kitchener, Ontario, and Larisa Yurkiw, of Owen Sound, Ontario, will continue their comeback from long-term injuries. Newcomer Elli Terwiel, of Heffley Creek, British Columbia, a student at the University of Vermont, made six World Cup starts last season and was crowned the overall ladies’ Nor-Am Cup slalom champion.

“We have two new podium athletes on the women’s side so it’s important to keep the momentum going,” Kristofic said of Mielzynski and Gagnon. “For them, as well as Ben Thomsen on the men’s side, it’s the first time they are going into major events as podium contenders. It’s great timing to have a big event like the world championships this year so they can learn to deal with that kind of pressure before Sochi 2014.”

The 2012-13 FIS World Cup season is due to get underway in Sölden, Austria, at the end of October. The 2013 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships are due to be in held in Schladming, Austria, from Feb. 4-17, 2013.

Men’s Canadian Alpine Ski Team:

Athlete Hometown Ski Club
Philip Brown Toronto, Ont. Craigleith
Dustin Cook Lac-Sainte-Marie, Que. Mont-Sainte-Marie
Julien Cousineau Lachute, Que. Mont-Tremblant
Robbie Dixon Whistler, B.C. Whistler Mountain Ski Club
Erik Guay Mont-Tremblant, Que. Mont-Tremblant
Jan Hudec Calgary, Alta. Banff Alpine Racers
Michael Janyk Whistler, B.C. Whistler Mountain Ski Club
John Kucera Calgary, Alta. Calgary Alpine Racing Club
Manuel Osborne-Paradis Vancouver, B.C. Whistler Mountain Ski Club
Trevor Philp Calgary, Alta. Banff Alpine Racers
Conrad Pridy Whistler, B.C. Whistler Mountain Ski Club
Morgan Pridy Whistler, B.C. Whistler Mountain Ski Club
Erik Read Calgary, Alta. Banff Alpine Racers
Jean-Philippe Roy Ste-Flavie, Que. Mont-Comi
Brad Spence Calgary, Alta. NATC/Panorama Ski Club
Ben Thomsen Invermere, B.C. Windermere Valley Ski Club
Andy Trow Canmore, Alta. Sunshine Ski Club
Trevor White Calgary, Alta. NATC/Fortress Alpine Ski Team
Sasha Zaitsoff Queens Bay, B.C. Red Mountain Racers

Women’s Canadian Alpine Ski Team:

Athlete Hometown Ski Club
Marie-Michèle Gagnon Lac-Etchemin, Que. Mont-Orignal
Madison Irwin Toronto, Ont. Craigleith
Madison McLeish Whistler, B.C. Alberta Ski Academy
Erin Mielzynski Guelph, Ont. Georgian Peaks
Brittany Phelan Mont-Tremblant, Que. Mont-Tremblant
Marie-Pier Préfontaine Saint-Sauveur, Que. Mont Saint-Sauveur
Ève Routhier Sherbrooke, Que. Mont-Orford
Elli Terwiel Heffley Creek, B.C. Sun Peaks Alpine Club
Kelly VanderBeek Kitchener, Ont. Chicopee
Larisa Yurkiw Owen Sound, Ont. Georgian Peaks

Leave a Reply