Whistler's own ski racer Mike Janyk is a three-time Olympian, a World Cup and World Championship medallist and repeat national champion.
After 20 years of racing, Janyk retired last spring and has launched a new career inspiring the next generation of racers with his Ski Racing Summits, bringing his experience and tips to ski clubs across Canada, and beyond.
Pique caught up with Janyk, 32, for a Q&A about how he feels about retiring from his sport, what he is up to these days and his new venture.
What follows is an edited version of that conversation.
Pique: How has it been transitioning from life as a competitive athlete to the role you have now?
Mike Janyk: I retired after only knowing one thing, ski racing, my whole life. The transition has being absolutely beautiful. Definitely very difficult at times, as I've spent many days feeling completely lost, sad, or scared being in this new unknown. But I feel that it's the unknown that's the most powerful place to be. If I can stay here for as long as possible then maybe I'll be lucky enough to have another dream come through for me. All in all it's been so positive being removed from the pressure cooker of competition — giving me the space to truly discover who I am and learn a little more about the world around me. Lastly, getting to spend more time with friends and family is a big bonus.
Pique: What have you been up to since you retired almost seven months ago.
MJ: I spent my summer in Whistler, decompressing after going full on for the last 20 years of my ski-racing dream. I spent time rediscovering my home community and the awesome outdoor playground we live in. I've also being writing a lot.
Pique: We reached you in Austria, by email, why are you in Europe?
MJ: I'm a representative on the FIS (International Ski Federation) athlete commission, so I came to Zurich, Switzerland for the FIS fall meetings and now I'm with the B.C. Alpine Ski Team doing a guest-coaching appearance for 10 days of their ski camp here in Hintertux, Austria.
Pique: Why do you want to teach your three-day Ski Racing Summits to young ski-racers, parents and coaches?
MJ: My initial plan, post ski-racing career, was to take at least a year fully off, and then in April I coached a few days... in Whistler. I went free skiing with the athletes, did some work with the coaches who were there and gave a talk, all based on sharing my experiences of my World-Cup career. A few days after this I was thinking that it would be cool to go to different ski clubs to share what it was like to live my dream as a World-Cup skier and bring the World Cup to the ski clubs, in a sense. I currently am booked with several ski clubs from around the country.
Pique: Who are the summits for, exactly?
MJ: These summits are for ski clubs only, as it's the combination of working with athletes, then with the coaches and delivering my presentation to parents, athletes and coaches together that I feel is the special mixture to maximize this program
Pique: How do you want participants and coaches to feel when they complete the course?
MJ: I wouldn't say that this is a course to be completed, but a sharing of experiences between each unique club and me. For those who participate, beyond the technical aspects to open up their ski club to the larger world of ski racing, I hope that in sharing my story they too come to know that dreams are possible.
Janyk's summits cost each ski club $5,000. For more information contact Janyk directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.