Paul Stutz is taking on the world – all by himself.
The Banff slalom expert is racing as an independent on the world cup alpine ski circuit for the second season in a row, and is posting some of the best results of his young career.
While he still represents Canada and works closely with the team, he’s taking care of his own coaching and ski tuning, and top 30 results are following.
Stutz posted two top 25 finishes at Kitzbuhel and Schladming in January.
“I’m really happy with those results. Those are definitely my favourite two places to race. To ski in front of 70,000 fans is incredible.”
Earning indie cred on the slopes has had its difficulties, but Stutz has been performing to his own expectations. The four-time Canadian slalom champ is feeling good on his skis, and feeling healthy.
“I have a lot of confidence this season. I’ve been skiing well and have the speed I’ve wanted.”
He’s currently ranked 33rd on the world cup circuit, and appeared to crack a top 20 finish earlier this year when he posted an 18th-place result. However, Stutz was later disqualified for hooking his pole on a gate. However, he remains focused on his ultimate goal: Olympic and world cup hardware.
One challenge facing the Banff racer is funding.
“As an independent, I’m responsible for all of my costs. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and the community support in Banff and Canada is tremendous,” Stutz said.
Tuning his own skis has been an exercise in trial and error, but he’s discovering he’s quite good at the skill.
Stutz will train in the Bow Valley for the next few weeks, preparing for his next world cup event in Bulgaria at the end of February. He’s working with Banff Alpine Racers coach Wade Rettie while at home. Stutz has launched a new website www.paulstutz.ca to help his fans follow his progress.