By Andrew Mitchell
Alpine Canada is bringing its largest ever Canadian Para-Alpine Team into action for the 2007-08 season, buoying its already strong national program with several up and coming athletes from the development and provincial levels that show promise for 2010.
The team was announced in Calgary last week, confirming the participation of World Cup champions Lauren Woolstencroft of Vancouver and Chris Williamson of Toronto. Both are veteran Paralympians and World Cup stars with multiple medals at all levels of competition.
Woolstencroft was born with no legs below her knees and no left arm below her elbow, but competes in the women’s standing category. Williamson competes in the visually impaired category that requires the assistance of a guide.
Other veterans rejoining the team include visually impaired skier Kathleen Forestell with guide Emily Glossop, visually impaired skier Carly Grigg with guide Shannon Morley, sit skiers Josh Dueck, Chantal Fowler and Brad Lennea, and standing skiers Morgan Perrin, Mathew Hallat and Arly Fogarty. Whistler is home to both Hallatt and Lennea.
Missing from the roster this year is sit skier Kimberly Joines, who received a nine-month suspension after testing positive for marijuana use in January. At the time she was applying to Health Canada to be allowed to use medical marijuana, and received an opinion from the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport that marijuana use would be allowed even though it was listed as a banned substance by the International Paralympic Committee.
She will rejoin the team for the start of the season once her suspension is completed.
The Para-Alpine team also regained the veteran leadership of Karolina Wisniewska, a standing skier who won four medals at Salt Lake City in 2002 but stepped back from competing for the past three years to focus on her education and career.
“This team has a good mix of veterans as well as young athletes who are going to push the veterans every step of the way as we pursue our goal of being the best in the world,” said CPAST high performance director Jean-Francois Rapatel. “We are increasing our focus on a high level of fitness and we are going to continue to utilize resources available through our coaching staff and Performance Enhancement Team as we build on last season’s success.”
The team will be immersed in a summer program that includes training at Mt. Hood in Oregon and in Chile, in addition to physical testing in Whistler and various dryland training camps.
It’s still unknown who will be coaching the team this year with the departure of both Leslie Clarke and Matt Kerr from the program.
This year’s international competition schedule includes races in Austria, France, Korea and Japan.
Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team
Josh Dueck (Vernon, BC)
Andrea Dziewior (Nanaimo, BC)
Arly Fogarty (Montreal, QC)
Kathleen Forestell (Ottawa, ON)
Chantal Fowler (Ottawa, ON)
Emily Glossop (Ottawa, ON)
Carly Grigg (Victoria, BC)
Mathew Hallat (Whistler, BC)
Kimberly Joines (Edmonton, AB)
Brad Lennea (Whistler, BC)
Shannon Morley (North Vancouver, BC)
Morgan Perrin (Vancouver, BC)
Chris Williamson (Markham, ON)
Lauren Woolstencroft (Vancouver, BC)
Canadian Para-Alpine Development Team
Luke Donavan (Dalhousie, NB)
Arnaud Rajchenbach (Montreal, QC)
Eric Trudel (Montreal, QC)
Karolina Wisniewska (Vancouver, BC)
Canadian Para-Alpine Develop Team Invitees
James Binsfeld (Toronto, ON)
Chris Erfle (Ottawa, ON)
Vivian Forest (Edmonton, AB)
Gabriel Perreault (Mont Tremblant, QC)
Melanie Schwartz (Ottawa, ON)
Andy VanGrusven (Kingston, ON)