Ten years ago, when he knew he wanted to be a ski racer, Whistler’s Robbie Dixon left his parent’s home North Vancouver and moved in with his grandparents in Whistler.
He was 14 when he moved to the community that he now considers home, and where he immersed himself in the sport.
“The Vancouver school system and sports like skiing don’t go together,” said Dixon. “On the other hand they had a great program in Whistler Secondary that let you miss a little school each week to train, and still stay on top of (your education). My family were weekend warriors going back to the time when I was racing for the Blackcomb club, before the Whistler and Blackcomb clubs merged, but it made sense for me to move here full-time.”
Dixon’s pursuit of his dream followed the usual channels — Whistler Mountain Ski Club, a spot on the B.C. Team, a few starts in Nor-Am competitions and results good enough to earn a spot on the national development team in 2005 — one year behind his former ski club teammate and fellow speed team member Manuel Osborne-Paradis, who now has three World Cup podiums to his credit.
On the development team, Dixon proved himself on the Nor-Am Cup and Europa Cup circuits, and earned a World Cup start with a Nor-Am Cup championship in super G in 2005-2006. He missed a few months of racing with an injury in January 2007, but rejoined the development team later in the season for a handful of races before joining the national team for training this past summer.
Although he did have a few World Cup starts last year, he considers this to be his rookie season with the national team. And what a season it has been.
With start numbers near the back of the pack, Dixon has worked to improve his standing with every race. Then in Kitzbuhel, Austria, on one of the hardest courses on the circuit, Dixon took bib number 43 and managed a sixth place finish in the super G against the top speed skiers in the world. He was one of five Canadian speed skiers to crack the top-30 that day, and one of three to make the top-15. Dixon wasn’t the top Canadian, with John Kucera placing one spot ahead in fifth, but the performance stood out. It was the first time that Dixon had cracked the top-30, and another indicator of just how deep the Canadian team is becoming.
Dixon followed up nine days later with his first top-30 in downhill, placing 29 th overall at Chamonix. The next day he was 12 th in the downhill component of the supercombined event, although he made a few mistakes in the slalom component which put him in 43 rd overall.