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Read sets new direction for Alpine Canada Alpin



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"If we’re asking a 15-year-old to make a 15-year commitment (to the ski team), ACA has to support education to get that commitment – so the choice is not education or ski racing," Read said.

The Calgary Olympic Development Association currently offers a high school program for elite athletes but Read is hoping to make post-secondary education programs available to "time-starved athletes."

Nancy Greene Raine suggested the program should include provisions to welcome back a skier who decides to take four years off from racing to obtain a university education.

On the technology side, Read said ACA’s partnership with General Motors is now allowing skiers to do wind tunnel testing at the auto-maker’s facilities in Detroit. Partnerships with engineering firms and/or universities are also planned to develop training simulators.

One of ACA’s larger goals is to develop a summer training facility at a glacier in B.C., to cut down on the expense of travel to Southern Hemisphere resorts for off-season training. CODA is expected to partner in the development. An announcement may be made this week.

Another aspect of Podium 2010 includes "hot housing" athletes to develop a few promising athletes as quickly as possible. Read implied that the men’s World Cup speed team, which was effectively disbanded after the Salt Lake Games, may have to be rebuilt through hot housing.

Many of the Podium 2010 plans will be structured in the months ahead and implemented next spring.

To pay for the programs ACA is looking for $5,000 annual commitments from individuals and corporations for four years. Seventy-five per cent of the funds will go to athlete development programming and 25 per cent will be invested in an ACA education foundation.

Combined with long-term sponsorships, the ACA is looking at ending the boom and bust cycle of funding that has plagued the organization in the past.

ACA’s 2002 annual report states: "The recent disappointing results from the 2002 Winter Olympics have their origins in policy decisions forced on sport over a decade ago by contraction of government support and loss of short term corporate sponsorships."

Read also spoke about broadening the perspective of people involved in ski racing.

"We can’t just look at ski racing, we have to look at the ski industry as a whole. We have to help each other," Read said.

He noted that skiing is a family activity and that each ski racer usually comes from a skiing family. Those families are frequent skiers, people that ski areas depend on.

Read said success at the highest level will drive enthusiasm for ski racing. That means sustained wins, not occasional World Cup victories, he added.