Theres not much Whistlers Phil Chew didnt accomplish during his tenure with the Canadian Disabled Alpine Ski Team. He is a five-time Canadian champion, a World Cup medalist, and went to the Paralympics three times. He has helped coach the B.C. Disabled Alpine Ski Team since the early 90s, putting several skiers on to the national team.
Last week Chew received a promotion of sorts. Already the BCDAST head coach for several years, Chews position was at last made full time.
"Ive been the head coach but it was a part-time position under contract. Basically the amount of time I spent on the hill is what I got paid for," said Chew. "Now Im a year-round head coach which means dryland training, on-snow training at Mt. Hood, summer camps, that kind of thing."
Chew just returned from Mt. Hood in Oregon, where he was working with the national development team. Next year he hopes to have his provincial athletes training alongside members of the national team.
"Ive wanted to do this for a while now, to take this to the next level and crank up my involvement coaching these guys. (The program) needs to have a full time coach to get to the next level."
Two Whistler athletes, Shona Burton and Pete Crutchfield, have worked closely with Chew in the past and are now on the provincial development team. The program includes five A Team skiers and eight development athletes.
Chew recently lost two athletes to the national program, with both sit skier Josh Dueck and blind skier Carly Grigg (with guide Shannon Morley) being selected for the national development team.
With 2010 on the horizon, the BCDASTs goal is to ensure that the province is well represented in the Parlyampics by homegrown athletes, while the national team has increased resources to ensure that the Canadian team has the ability to put skiers on the podium.
"(Funding) is a lot better, and were starting to raise the bar a lot more, to get in a lot more training and hopefully get some athletes on the national team for 2010," said Chew. "Two athletes left the team last year to go to the development team, and Im hopeful we can move up a couple more before 2010."
Chew organizes a bike race and raffle every September called the West Side Wheel Up, with all proceeds going to the B.C. Disabled Alpine Ski Team. Details on this years event will be announced in early August.