Canadian Alpine Ski Team unveiled

Thirty-one athletes were named to the Canadian Alpine Ski Team on Thursday as Alpine Canada continues its preparations for the 2011-12 World Cup season.

The team, headlined by world downhill champion Erik Guay and featuring 20 men and 11 women, includes a core group of proven World Cup racers as well as a major injection of young talent.

“This is a strong team that we believe can compete with the very best in the world,” said Canadian Alpine Ski Team athletic director Robert Rousselle. “We had a challenging season last year due to injuries but our athletes still delivered some strong performances, highlighted by Erik Guay’s historic gold medal at the world championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.”

Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., is joined on the men’s speed team by a group that includes fellow Canadian Cowboys Jan Hudec, of Calgary, Alta., three-time World Cup winner Manuel Osborne-Paradis, of Vancouver, B.C., and 2009 world downhill champion John Kucera, also of Calgary. Osborne-Paradis and Kucera are returning from injury, as are veterans Robbie Dixon, of Whistler, B.C., and François Bourque, of New Richmond, Que. – another Canadian Cowboy. Canadian Cowboy is the term given to men’s team ski racers who have finished in the top three at a World Cup, world championship or Olympic race.

“The returning athletes are key players for our team,” said Rousselle. “They are veterans and leaders who will raise the level of competition.”

Whistler’s Michael Janyk, another Canadian Cowboy, and Julien Cousineau, of Lachute, Que., who was fifth in slalom at the 2011 world championships, lead an experienced men’s technical team that also features proven World Cup racers Brad Spence and Trevor White, both of Calgary.

The men’s team benefits from the addition of some young talent this season, with Ben Thomsen, of Invermere, B.C., following up a promising 2010-11 World Cup campaign by being named to the team. There are some new faces, including Philip Brown, of Toronto, Ont., who won a bronze medal in combined at the 2011 FIS World Junior Ski Championships. Calgary’s Erik Read and Sasha Zaitsoff, of Nelson, B.C., have also been named to the team after making their first starts on the World Cup circuit last season.

Marie-Michèle Gagnon, of Lac-Etchemin, Que., who finished the World Cup season ranked in the top-20 in giant slalom and super combined, is part of a talented young women’s technical team that includes Anna Goodman, of Pointe Claire, Que., Marie-Pier Préfontaine, of Saint Sauveur, Que., and Erin Mielzynski, of Guelph, Ont. In the speed events, the women’s team could be boosted by the return of World Cup veterans Kelly VanderBeek, of Kitchener, Ont., who is making good progress in her recovery from a serious injury, and Larisa Yurkiw, of Owen Sound, Ont. Whistler’s Britt Janyk announced her retirement earlier this week.

“On the women’s side, it’s a young group coming up with a lot of talent,” said Rousselle. “We are very excited about their potential and we look forward to helping them to continue their progression towards the podium.”

Both teams recently resumed dryland training in Calgary. The 2011-12 FIS World Cup season is due to get underway in Solden, Austria, at the end of October.

Name – Hometown – (Ski club)
François Bourque – New Richmond, Que. (Pin Rouge)
Philip Brown – Toronto, Ont. (Craigleith)
Dustin Cook – Lac Sainte-Marie, Que. (Mont Ste-Marie)
Julien Cousineau – Lachute, Que. (Mont-Tremblant)
Robbie Dixon – Whistler, B.C. (Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
Erik Guay – Mont-Tremblant, Que. (Mont-Tremblant)
Kelby Halbert – Bradford, Ont. (Toronto Ski Club)
Louis-Pierre Hélie – Berthierville, Que. (Mont-Ste-Anne)
Jan Hudec – Calgary, Alta. (Banff Alpine Racers)
John Kucera – Calgary, Alta. (Calgary Alpine Racing Club)
Michael Janyk – Whistler, B.C. (Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
Manuel Osborne-Paradis – Vancouver, B.C. (Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
Jean-Philippe Roy – Ste-Flavie, Que. (Mont-Comi)
Morgan Pridy – Whistler, B.C. (Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
Erik Read – Calgary, Alta. (Banff Alpine Racers)
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 – Nelson, B.C. (Red Mountain Racers)

Name – Hometown – (Ski club)
Marie-Michèle Gagnon – Lac-Etchemin, Que. (Mont Orignal)
Anna Goodman – Pointe Claire, Que. (Mont-Tremblant)
Madison Irwin – Toronto, Ont. (Craigleith)
Kelly McBroom – Canmore, Alta. (Banff Alpine Racers)
Madison McLeish – Canmore, Alta. (Whistler Mountain Ski Club)
Erin Mielzynski – Guelph, Ont. (Georgian Peaks)
Brittany Phelan – Mont-Tremblant, Que. (Mont-Tremblant)
Marie-Pier Préfontaine – Saint Sauveur, Que. (St Sauveur)
Ève Routhier – Sherbrooke, Que. (Mont Orford)
Kelly VanderBeek – Kitchener, Ont. (Chicopee)
Larisa Yurkiw – Owen Sound, Ont. (Georgian Peaks)

Eight promising young skiers have also been named to Alpine Canada’s development program.

Name – Hometown – (Ski club)
William St-Germain – Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que. (Mont Ste-Anne)
Dominique Garand – Mont-Tremblant, Que. (Mont-Tremblant)
Simon-Claude Toutant – Montreal, Que. (Val St-Côme)
Tyler Werry – Calgary, Alta. (Fernie Alpine Ski Team)
Morgan Megarry – Collingwood, Ont. (Craigleith
Andrew Solomon – Toronto, Ont. (Alpine Ski Club)

Name – Hometown – (Ski club)
Sarah Freeman – Pincher Creek, Alta. (Fernie Alpine Ski Team)
Julia Roth – Waterloo, Ont. (Devil’s Glen)