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Cinephile Sandau looks to take on world's best

Once 23-year-old Kevin Sandau is through with skiing, the kid’s gotta future in pictures.
Kevin Sandau races at Sovereign Lake.
Kevin Sandau races at Sovereign Lake.

Once 23-year-old Kevin Sandau is through with skiing, the kid’s gotta future in pictures.

Winning the top domestic racer spot last year after an epic battle with speed demon Brent McMurtry, Sandau’s long journey to World Cup success is ready for its second act.

His personal best on the World Cup thus far is a 34th place finish, but he knows he’s capable of top 20 with some added confidence. Sunday’s (Dec. 16) World Cup skiathlon at the Canmore Nordic Centre could prove his best chance for a new personal best result.

“Last year going in, I wasn’t sure where I stacked up. This year I don’t need to focus on that as much,” Sandau said. “This year, with guaranteed spots, I know what to expect now.”

This season, his World Cup results have fallen into the 60s placings, but his speed is still improving. The world class skier with the Michael Cera demeanor chose to skip the Quebec World Cup sprints in order to race distance in Sovereign Lake last weekend, where he posted two top-10 results. After a summer training with McMurtry and the Alberta World Cup Academy, Sandau pushed his limits.

“Brent’s an awesome training partner. We’re obviously pushing each other,” Sandau said.

He’s capturing his adventures with his camera and it’s gotten to the point where he travels with a blue screen to shoot special effect scenes on the road, trying to convince national team members Devon Kershaw, Alex Harvey and Len Valjas to take roles in his films.

His latest, Triassic Park, an homage to Spielberg’s Jurassic Park, was shot during the team’s training camp in Hawaii. The theme and pacing (God creates dinosaurs. God destroys dinosaurs. God creates man. Man destroys God. Man creates dinosaurs. Kevin goes to Hawaii) is his most advanced to date, compared to his camera trick work.

“That took all of my summer free time. I shot it in Hawaii at the end of April and finished it in September. I’ve been editing it consistently in between,” Sandau said. “I always travel with a bunch of gear. Sometimes I don’t use it.”

For better or for worse, his film tastes have developed. He no longer lists Titanic as his favourite film of all time. Instead, the 1977 animated version of The Hobbit is his choice cut, followed by the Lord of the Rings movies. He hopes his skiing skills will also diversify, as his tireless work effort is bound to pay off with better results.

“I’ve put a lot of focus on classic skiing and double poling. The classic side feels good and looks a lot better than last year,” Sandau said.

He’ll need those skills in Sunday’s skiathlon, where he should be one of Canada’s best. Chasing a top 12 finish he’ll need to qualify for world championships, he’s got the proper motivation.

“This year, the big focus is to qualify for world championships.”

His next film project is a promotional project for the Alberta World Cup Academy, but in the meantime, he’s chasing a starring role on the Olympic stage.

Rocky Mountain Outlook

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