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First Coaches Summit attracts more than 50 alpine ski coaches

Strengthens ties between national and provincial counterparts


More than 50 of Canada’s top alpine ski coaches helped to make the inaugural Coaches Summit a huge success by participating in a variety of seminars dedicated to professional development and an increased access to information.

Alpine Canada and the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation (CSCF) joined forces to host the four day "Coaches Summit" which was held in Calgary, April 29th to May 2nd.

"The event was a tremendous success," said ACA Alpine Director Dusan Grasic. "It was an opportunity for coaches at different levels in Canada to expand the lines of communication and learn from each other. We’re very pleased with the number of coaches that attended and the type of discussion that was generated."

Some highlights of the event included a discipline training and gaze control seminar by Dr. Joan Vickers, a speed and slalom development seminar by national women’s World Cup speed coach Rob Boyd and national men’s World Cup technical coach Marc Gagnon as well as a surprise seminar by nine-time World Cup medalist and two-time World Cup champion Thomas Grandi.

"By developing a closer working relationship between the national team and their provincial counterparts through events like this summit, we continue make tremendous strides in our ultimate goal of developing a ski racing system that is sustainable and successful," said ACA Director of National Programs Julie Lemieux.

"ACA is determined to work with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation, provincial sport organization leaders and the leaders of Canada’s ski clubs to put coaching education on the top of our priority list," said Lemieux.

Peter Goodman, managing director of the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation, said he was also pleased that the objectives outlined for the summit had been met.

"We identified that improving the accessibility to professional development and communication between the various coaching levels was a major priority. We’re trying to develop a system where critical and new information flows as easily as possible to the important coaches at all levels," said Goodman.

Meanwhile, Alpine Canada has appointed Benoit Lalande to the newly created role of ACA Eastern Development Director.

Lalande, who has more than 25 years experience coaching ski racers in Quebec and Ontario, immediately takes over the critical task of enhancing development level ski racing programs in Eastern Canada. He will work out of an office based in Laval, Quebec with an extensive travel schedule through Quebec, Ontario and the Maritimes.

Lalande joins Western Development Manager Mark Sharp, who will be in charge of the Western and Prairie provinces, in being responsible for the development level ski racing in Canada.

"It’s a huge relief to add Benoit," said Sharp. "To have another person working on the strategies that we are trying to carry out is going to be a major benefit. Benoit has been a key part of the system for many years now and we will be an invaluable presence for ski racing in Eastern Canada."

ACA Director of National Programs Julie Lemieux said the hiring of Lalande will increase the ability of Alpine Canada Alpin grow its development programs with the provinces, which is a major priority of the organization.