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Erik Read: Bow Valley's Beijing Bound Athletes

“At the Games, I can be confident with where I am and the consistency and fast skiing I am able to produce right now."

Erik Read, alpine, top 5 world cup threat

The devil is in the details for Erik Read.

Entering a second consecutive Winter Olympic Games, the technical skiing specialist is in a sweet position.

The type of spot where he’s at the very top of his game; smooth-talking top-10 results, but flirting to take things one step further. And in a room full of handsy people reaching for the same prize, this might be Read’s bold moment to take things home.

“At the Games, I can be confident with where I am and the consistency and fast skiing I am able to produce right now,” said Read. 

“For myself, it’s elevating the expectations, which comes and produces some positives, but there’s also more challenges to manage too.”


A post shared by Erik Read (

With a creative eye for photography, Read visualizes the start of the snowy mountain course in Beijing. Banging on his chest like a drum, something added to his pre-race routine, Read’s knees bend and he pounces out of the gate like a predator on prey. 

In Beijing, the Canmore skier will take any advantage he can – whether that’s getting the scoop on the mysterious mountain course nobody has run on or with good luck charms like his thick racing socks and a red chili pepper around his neck, a gift from girlfriend and Italian skier Giulia Paventa, as a token of good luck in Naples.

“That expression of being hungry and aggressiveness that’s kind of like that final moment; I give my chest a few big slaps as a final touch to get in the right mindset,” said Read.

 “Where I’m at now, it’s in the little details. That extra bit that can help you because I’m not making big changes in my physical fitness, my nutrition, my habits. It’s those little details that can have big outcomes.”

The 30-year-old is cerebral in his approach to the game of highly competitive slalom and giant slalom (GS) races, in which skiers expertly zigzag through red and blue gates with deadeye precision.

A master deceiver of speed, Read drops down the hill in a seemingly slow, no sweat effort. Most might just be admiring the surgical skill set the Canuck is carving to notice the amount of edge he’s riding to carry velocity.

Read is deep in chasing his goals. In 2021, he felt more European than Canadian after spending eight months total overseas competing, training and making sure his stuff was on point. This season on the world cup, Read turned up the volume on top 15s results, securing five in a short window including seventh place in the head-to-head parallel in Lech, Austria.

There are a high number of elite athletes only dreaming of consistent top 20 performances on the world cup. Nowadays, for Read, he’s at the level that even if he’s out of rhythm, he’s banking top 15s.

It’s in races like these and for moments like Beijing that made all the extra effort growing up worth it, like that extra session at Calgary Olympic Park with his Olympian uncle Jim or living out of airports and hotels on the road for three quarters of a year.

“I expect more of myself,” said Read. “I’m an older athlete and expected to produce and stuff like that. I think that’s what it boils down to and use my sports psyche to really kind of come down on the more nitty-gritty details versus in PyeongChang where I was just kind of soaking in the whole experience and also do some ski racing, if that makes sense.”

Born into skiing royalty, his father is Crazy Canuck Ken Read and his mother is former national women’s overall alpine championship Lynda Read (Robbins), Read feels he’s in unchartered territory from what he’s family’s achieved.

And he’s gunning for something that would be unique to his family name: Olympic glory.

Jordan Small

About the Author: Jordan Small

An award-winning reporter, Jordan Small has covered sports, the arts, and news in the Bow Valley since 2014. Originally from Barrie, Ont., Jordan has lived in Alberta since 2013.
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