Our athletes normally take centre stage, and this is how it should be.  Sport centres around the players, but there are no games without countless people behind the scenes, most of whom are there asking for no pay, no accolades, often time no sleep and more often with no thanks.  It is no secret that we have lost huge chunks of our budget over the years, and I can safely say that we would no longer be able to support those athletes without the ever-increasing support of our volunteer base.

Last month we celebrated a very successful week in Mt St Anne, Quebec, for World Junior/U23 trials.  Four of our athletes have qualified to represent Canada in Germany at the end of February, and another just missed by 0.1 seconds.  None of this could have been possible without our on-snow tech team, all of whom are not paid.  Early January saw a big push at a training camp in Canmore to get all our athletes’ ski fleets organized and dialed in.  Judy and Mike Mappin have been running this program with the help of the Canmore Grinders ski service for a few years now, and it has helped us tremendously to dial in our race service.  Judy and Mike are two of the most knowledgeable people in the Canadian ski community and have pushed the boundaries of this sport for longer than I have been doing it.  Their knowledge of skis, both on and off the snow is unrivalled in this country, and we couldn’t be more fortunate that they wish to donate their skills to our team.

At race events now, outside of our coaches, we have moved over to a volunteer driven ski service team.  For the last three years, this team has been led by Lahav Wolach, an Israeli born wax guru that makes time and time again the fastest skis I know.  Lahav has essentially become our team utility tool, helping us out of any and all jams, and when we have a team of 20+ athletes and thousands of dollars of gear, we have a lot of jams!  Lahav leads our team of parent-techs of Bruce Granstrom, Rick Latta, Tony Peiffer and Greg Manktelow, whose contributions to race weekends go well past their love for their children.  These are never short days or glamourous work conditions, but they are always fun in a very type A way!

These are just a few of the individuals that help keep this machine moving.  I would need a lot more time and space to thank everyone, but I will have to save that for another newsletter.  Thank you to all the volunteers out there who behind the scenes help keep things moving along so that our athletes can continue to climb up onto that stage!