By Andrew Mitchell
Like many of Canada’s winter sports organizations, Alpine
Canada typically operates in four-year cycles around the Olympic Winter Games.
Most major changes to staffing and team policy take place after an Olympics as
the organization gears up for the next four years. This year, following the
2006 Olympics, is no different.
The Canadian Alpine Ski Team is coming off its best season ever
on the World Cup with a record of 3,060 points, 12 podiums (twice as many as
last season’s tally), and three fourth place finishes at the Olympics in
Torino. The team also remains one of the youngest on the World Cup tour, with
the majority of athletes in their early 20s.
Last week it was announced that Dusan Grasic will replace Max
Gartner as the Alpine Director for CAST, overseeing team development and
management through the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Gartner will remain involved
as a consultant.
“The CAST has great momentum and most importantly tremendous
potential,” said Grasic, who joined Alpine Canada as the men’s technical coach
in 2003, and guided athletes to six podiums in the last two years, including
firsts in slalom and giant slalom.
“In order to get a step closer to our goal of being a world
leader in ski racing, CAST must increase the synergies within the speed and
technical programs and across the women’s and men’s programs. I look forward to
helping our athletes and coaches turn World Cup podiums into victories.”
Grasic’s first task will be to redesign the coaching structure
for CAST, making it easier for athletes to train and compete in both technical
and speed events.
“Ski racing being an extremely competitive sport, it’s imperative
for our organization to continuously seek the winning edge both on and off the
hill to be the best in 2010 and beyond,” said Alpine Canada President Ken Read.
“Dusan, who knows what it takes to succeed at the international level, will
play a key role in managing the ever-growing activities of the Canadian Alpine
Grasic has also been awarded the Andrej Kozbial Award presented
to the international coach of the year, as well as the B.C. Sport Coach of the
Grasic is also based in Invermere, close to the national team’s
summer training facilities on the Farnham Glacier.
To fill the coaching gap left by Grasic, this week Alpine
Canada announced that Whistler’s Matt Kerr and Toronto’s Paul Kristofic will be
team managers for the women’s and men’s national teams respectively.