In addition to the funding, OTP made announcements regarding two new programs and the formal creation of a new organization for ski cross — an event that will be making its Olympic debut in 2010.
While ski cross is recognized by the Federation Internationale de Ski as a freestyle discipline, the sport has more in common with alpine ski racing and most athletes are former ski racers. For that reason the Canadian team will train under its own organization, Ski Cross Canada, with backing from both Alpine Canada and the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association, and sanctioning from the Canadian Snow Sports Association.
All of Ski Cross Canada’s funding to date has come through Own The Podium.
According to Ken Read, CEO of Alpine Canada, the goal of Ski Cross Canada is to win medals in 2010.
“It starts with Stan Hayer, who was an alumni of the Canadian ski team and was a silver medalist at the Freestyle World Championships last year,” said Read. “The athletes will have the opportunity to get the best skis, the best training, the best coaches to ensure a podium in 2010.”
Read says that means ski cross athletes will also have access to the resources that were made available by Own The Podium to all sports organizations, including sport psychologists, trainers, nutritionists, physiotherapists, and other specialists.
Ski Cross Canada was also one of the sports included in the Camp Green project on Farnham Glacier. An entire snowboardcross and ski cross course was built on the glacier for training, as well as courses for snowboard and ski racing. Next year the facility will include a downhill training run, Read says, allowing Canada’s speed athletes to do all their training in Canada next summer.