Bow Valley well represented on provincial alpine team
Tess Davies, Logan Thackray, Kevyn Read and Matthew Monod will lead the Bow Valley contingent on the 2012/2013 Alberta Alpine ski team.
Officially introduced to the public at a season kick-off party in Calgary on Tuesday (Oct. 16), the team has wrapped up a vigorous training regimen, attending ski camps in Mount Hood, Oregon and Santiago, Chile.
Coming off a third-place finish on the NorAm downhill circuit, Davies will lead the charge for the team and should challenge for the overall title. She’s approaching the season with a positive attitude, which is translating into faster runs. Training in Chile and Mount Hood with a close-knit team has helped, she admits.
“Honestly, I’m pretty confident. I’m really happy with my skiing right now and I’m having so much fun,” Davies said.
“She has her eyes set on the downhill NorAm title this year,” said Alberta Alpine athletic director Brett Zagozewski. “She was instrumental in the summer camps and pushed her teammates and coaches to maximize their training every day they’re out there.”
She made her World Cup debut last season at Lake Louise, however, the national team cut her shortly after in a puzzling decision. Instead of dwelling upon politics, though, she resolved to ski fast this year and have fun doing so. Always one to cover her bases, she’s also researching several schools.
“I had a pretty rough time last year, but I realized I still love the sport. I didn’t want to leave with that much resentment. This year, I want to go all out and have fun. If it works out, it works out,” Davies said. “With the politics, it’s not about winning favours. It’s about proving you belong with your skiing.”
Alberta Alpine was more than happy to welcome her back so she can still pursue her ski racing dream.
“It’s nice to have someone who knows the system and what it takes to be a winner,” Zagozewski said.
Many of her teammates look up to her as an example, but she still feels like she belongs.
“Everyone has been so incredible and the team dynamic is good,” Davies said.
Davies won’t know if she’ll get another crack at the Lake Louise World Cup this year until much closer to the start date, so for now she’ll focus on the NorAm circuit. If she wins the title, she’ll earn more World Cup starts.
“Skiing Louise would be great, and the potential for a better result is there since the nerves would be out of the way. For now, I’ll focus on NorAm. That’s the best way to achieve my goal so I can have another World Cup start,” Davies said.
Thackray has spent much of the past two seasons following Davies’ lead, however, at 18, she’ll now be one of the older members of the squad and has the potential to come into her own.
She split her time playing with The Eerie Green band and mastering technical courses, but will now be a role model for the younger girls.
“I started as the youngest girl on the team and it’s good to have fresh blood. It’s good to be a role model,” Thackray said.
Injury free for the first time in years, she’ll be in the mix battling on the technical courses. Zagozewski is keen to see how she’ll perform with a full volume of training behind her.
“With her mentality, she brings a great attitude to the team. We expect her to be in the mix with her teammates on the circuit,” Zagozewski said.
She’ll start racing technical disciplines, but will transition to super G as the season progresses.
The men’s team makes up for its lack of experience with strong bloodlines. The Monod and Read monikers are legend in the Canadian ski world and the family tradition is strong with the young men.
Monod is excited for his Alberta team debut.
“I’m happy. I worked pretty hard to get here,” said Monod, who has tempered his expectations heading into the year. “I don’t really think of expectations, I think of the steps it takes to make sure I’m skiing strong and fast.”
Joining Russell Ronsky as the only two new additions to the team, Monod said he’ll keep racing as long as he’s having fun.
“I want to keep working on my skiing. I see a lot of guys plateau and not go anywhere with it, so until I plateau I’ll try to ski fastest. When I plateau I’ll probably move onto biking.”
“Matt is an enthusiastic guy. He’s very professional for a young age and we’ve watched him progress,” Zagozewski said of Monod. “He’s a diverse athlete who spends a lot of time on the bike.”
This will be Read’s third year on the team and his coaches are expecting a good season from the part-time Canmore resident.
“He’s displaying a high level of talent during training. If he puts down those skills on competition day, it will be exciting to watch him,” Zagozewski said.
Read began racing speed events this summer and has shown promise.
“He’s got the touch and the confidence with it. He’ll be strapping on the long boards fairly soon.”
While the official start of the Canadian season falls in December at Panorama, some of the athletes will compete in U.S. NorAms before then. Zagozewski said the team will be competitive, especially the women.
“Last year we had a few higher entry standards for the team and its shown for the new entries for the team. The entire group has upped its level,” he said.
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