When the 2017-18 ski season kicks off, Stefanie Fleckenstein will officially be a member of Alpine Canada's senior squad.
But in practice, not a whole lot will change for the 19-year-old Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus.
"I'm going to be with the development team most of next year because I'm still a junior. I'll get to go to World Juniors," she said. "The development team does more on-hill training, but I think it's more race-focused on the senior team."
While Fleckenstein will have access to more product suppliers as a result of the nomination, because she's still a junior, her access to funding will remain the same.
Fleckenstein had a pretty good idea her promotion was imminent after she was invited to camp in Italy and Austria with the senior team, allowing her to get to know the skiers and coaches better.
"I had just gotten home from a ski camp in Europe with the senior team. I got to do two weeks with them, which was really fun. It was nice to get to be with the coaches and the girls," she said. "I had just finished a camp with the development team the week before, so I was just basically carrying over what I was working on there. I was doing a lot of speed training in the mornings with them — really early mornings, 5 a.m. sessions."
Other tasks Fleckenstein was assigned included testing and work on the team event, which will make its debut in the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.
Fleckenstein said next season, she'll remain focused on the levels a notch below World Cup to try to set herself up better for the top level when she reaches it as an older, wiser, more polished athlete.
"My main goals are placing in the Europa Cup overalls again because that way I can secure myself World Cup spots for the following year," said Fleckenstein, who was also fourth overall on the NorAm circuit this year. "I'll try to do a World Cup or two here or there, but I'll start with my NorAm schedule and Europa Cup schedule. But that's not going to be my main focus for the coming season."
Fleckenstein, who was vacationing in Arizona when reached, said she is currently working on her general athleticism before getting back into the gym for weight training later this summer.
"We're mountain biking a lot. We're doing lots of cardio," she said. "It's going to be a lot of work this summer. It's a lot of time spent in the gym, but hopefully a lot of time spent doing other sports as well. They're trying to integrate that sort of multi-sport training."
A number of other Whistler athletes are returning, with Broderick Thompson, Brodie Seger, Jack Crawford and Manny Osborne-Paradis all back on the men's team. Riley Seger will once again suit up for the development squad, while Marielle Thompson and Dave Duncan are back on the ski-cross team. Lastly, Mollie Jepsen is returning to the para-alpine team.
A full list of Alpine Canada nominations are online at www.alpinecanada.org.