Some families host game nights, others cook turkeys, cut down trees or build snowmen as part of a pre-Christmas family tradition.
For the Read family, blasting down the Lake Louise men’s downhill racecourse has become a November rite of passage.
Jeffrey Read, the youngest of the famous ski clan, was the latest to join the family tradition on Saturday (Nov. 25) at Lake Louise, as the top ski prospect was selected to forerun the course.
“I was just doing my job, trying to set a good line,” Read said. “It’s also a really good opportunity to get some experience on the track for possible world cups in years to come, and in two weeks, when we have NorAms here.”
Yet judging by his recent results, it won’t be long until he trades in forerunning duties for a world cup starter’s bib.
Read recently won the men’s NorAm slalom race on Nov. 21 at Copper Mountain Resort, and beat his Olympian brother Erik twice on the course. Last season, Erik joked he switched to technical skiing to avoid getting beat by Jeffrey, so the younger brother took some joy in the win.
“Of course there is a little sibling rivalry,” Jeffrey said. “But I want to try and take after my dad (Crazy Canuck Ken Read) and be a speed skier.”
Jeffrey wasn’t happy with his giant slalom results, but thought he acquitted himself well in a tough slalom field. Erik is Canada’s top ranked technical skier (he had top 10 results in three disciplines last season), and has steadily improved his standing in the sport, which has in turn given Jeffrey a great rabbit to chase. Kevyn Read, the middle brother, skis for Dartmouth College.
Yet the polite younger brother concedes Erik may still be able to beat him on world cup courses.
“It was a great start to the NorAm season. The slaloms were good. It was on a flatter hill, which helped me, and there were a lot of world cup skiers at my brother’s level. If it was steeper, it would have been a lot harder for me to keep up with their speed,” Jeffrey said.
He hopes the slalom results will parlay into world cup starts later this season, but said ultimately he sees himself as a downhill and super-G speed racer.
“I enjoy speed, and I have a better world ranking in that discipline. It’s probably the direction I will go in my career. This year on the NorAm circuit, I’m definitely going for the overall win. If I win that title, I’ll get a spot on the world cup,” Read said.
At 20, he feels he still has a lot to learn, but his confidence is drawing him to the big stage.
“There is still definitely some experience to gain on the NorAm and Europa Cup circuts, but I’m getting close,” Read said.
So will Lake Louise see him on the world cup circuit?
“Hopefully,” Jeffrey said, grinning from ear to ear.