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Sounds great. But what are they doing different than other years? What’s suddenly brought them to a level of consistency that’s got their male counterparts on the Canadian Team gnashing their teeth in envy?
“I’ve been thinking about that since you brought it up a few weeks ago,” says Boyd. “And I was thinking back to my time on the national team and the confidence in ourselves that Glenn Wurtele (another B.C. boy, by the way) inspired.”
He laughs: “I remember national team camps up on the Whistler glacier where Glenn would set these huge jumps. I mean monstrous! And then he’d challenge us to see who could fly the furthest. You know, he was never afraid to push us beyond our comfort zone. He really tested us. But that’s what you have to if you want to be number one.”
In a ‘return to the future’ sort of scenario, Boyd brought his charges back to Whistler to train on the glacier this past summer. It was the first national team camp that Boyd ever organized from scratch. And he went right back to the source for his inspiration.
“I remembered Glacier Bowl as such a great place to train,” he says. “Lots of room, great pitch, good vertical. And nobody else to compete for space with. So I decided to apply a little Wurtelean thinking.”
Big jumps, tricky transitions, high speeds — “The girls were making turns down the t-bar track at 130kmp,” chuckles Boyd – the new May camp pushed the women to go places with their skiing that they’d never gone before. But they liked it. And that too was a revelation for the coaches.
“I could see these girls getting more comfortable with speed and air by the day,” he recalls, “which made us realize just how much they could take.”
And that camp has paid out dividends all season. “Just to watch Emily tucking through sections (during her super G win in St Moritz last week) where nobody else was tucking — and still making good turns — that, to me, was a direct result of what we worked on the glacier. And I’ve seen the same from Britt and Kelly all season.”
But that’s not the only difference from last year, says Rob. In typical Boyd style, he quickly shifts the spotlight to another innovator on the team.
“Our strength and conditioning coach this year, Matt Price, has just done a phenomenal job,” he says. “He’s brought a level of dedication and professionalism to his work that I’ve rarely seen before. And as far as getting the girls prepared, he’s totally nailed it!”