The Canadian Alpine Ski Team is taking a few names off an injury list that claimed as many as a dozen skiers at times in recent seasons, with the announcement that Whistler's Robbie Dixon and Quebec's Jean-Philippe Roy have been cleared to ski this weekend at the World Cup giant slalom opener at Soelden, Austria.
"The head's good, the body's good and life's good," said Dixon, who sustained a concussion in a training run in Bormio, Italy in December 2010. "Obviously the start position is going to be rough. I will be fighting my way from the back but I've done it before. This is the first race for a while but it's full on for me - I want to come back full-bore."
Dixon is primarily a speed skier with numerous top 10 results in downhill and super G, but he's focusing more on the giant slalom as well.
Roy, who missed last season with a knee injury, has been Canada's top GS skier when healthy.
Dustin Cook, of Quebec, will also be racing.
The women's team is starting strong, with its top skies in good health and building on momentum from last season. Marie-Michele Gagnon and Marie-Pier Prefontaine, both from Quebec, will be representing Canada in Austria.
Gagnon earned a career-best fifth place finish last season and has been getting closer to the podium.
"I feel like this year might be a breakthrough for our team in slalom and giant slalom," she said. "We all have more experience on the World Cup tour now and we are hungry."
After the opener in Austria, the team will head to Levi, Finland for the opening slalom races of the season. The speed season will open at Lake Louise with super G and downhill races for the men on Nov. 26 and 27, and two downhills and a super G for the women from Dec. 2 to 4.
The team's goal for the start of the season is to get everyone healthy and back on skis.
"With the amount of injuries we've had we really want to focus on rehabilitating everyone," said Robert Rousselle, athletic director for the team.