Escarpment Magazine Winter 2013
You are one of the most celebrated downhill skiers in Canadian
history and one of only three Canadians to win the Hahnenkamm, in Kitzbühel.
How did it feel to be inducted into the Ski Hall of Fame in 1991?
Since my very first run through a race course at Toronto Ski Club where I
started skiing, I only remember having one goal - to bemy best. And over the years
that I competed, that simple goal remained the same. Becoming well known or
even famous, was never anything I ever thought about or planned on. In fact, for
most of my career, I never even considered that people were watching me or fol-
lowing the races on television or in the news. It was never about impressing any-
one else. I was so happy just skiing and racing for my team and for my own
enjoyment of the personal challenge to attain my ultimate goal – to be my best.
The award by the Ski Hall of Fame and their recognition came almost as a surprise
tome. To be invited into an elite group of Canadians skiing legends, athletes who
I feel are truly ‘famous’, was a real honour.
How did your training differ from the way our elite athletes train
Compared to today’s teams and today’s athletes, the programs dur-
ing my time lacked any real sophistication. We didn’t have the same struc-
ture they do today. Basically we all did our own thing. Ken and Dave loved
to run, Pod loved to bike and others had their favourite way of working out.
And although we used to have a fitness test in the fall prior to the season,
there was never a workout schedule. The coaches left us alone in April and
hoped we’d come back in September ready to race! Since I severely injured
my knee early in my career on the National Team, it hurt to do most every-
thing including skiing. I thought the most important and efficient training I
could focus on was lifting weights. I started building strength primarily by
doing squats. It was a daily ritual. I’d finish every workout by putting plates
on the bar to equal my body weight, then start squatting for 2
the length of the longest downhill course in Wengen, Switzerland. I’d squat
till I crossed the finish line or I’d fall over trying. Most summers I would put
on a ton of weight and I always felt I was among the strongest guys on the
World Cup.
Todd Brooker began his ski racing career at Blue Mountain with the Toronto Ski Club. He was named to
the Canadian national team in 1977 and competed on the World Cup circuit until 1987. Brooker continued
the Crazy Canucks Canadian domination, winning three World Cup downhill races at Aspen, Furano,
Japan and the famed Hahnenkamm in Kitzbühel. He has received many honors and accolades including
Canadian Alpine Skier of the Year in 1983, he was the number one ranked FIS downhill skier in 1983
and 1984, and was a member of the 1984 Canadian Olympic Team in Sarejevo, Yugoslavia, finishing
in the downhill. In January 1987, Brooker's ski racing career ended at the top of the Zielschuss on
the Hahnenkamm with the most gut wrenching, horrifying ragdoll cart-wheeling fall ever captured on
film. He suffered extensive injuries, tearing all four ligaments in an already injured knee and suffering
from a severe concussion.
The year he retired, Brooker was the recipient of the Johnny F. Bassett Memorial Award as an Ambassador
in Sport, and he was inducted into the Canadian Ski Hall of Fame in 1991. Since retirement from com-
petition, Brooker has worked as colour commentator for ESPN, ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX and Turner Sports
television. He is the exclusive ski analyst for NBC’s Olympic and World Championship skiing. When he’s
not commentating on world class skiing, Brooker can be found at Remax Four Seasons Realty in Thorbury
where he is a sales agent. He resides with his wife Lisa and their three daughters on a farm west of
Thornbury. Brooker has raised awareness for The Arthritis Society, raised millions of dollars for the
Ronald McDonald Children’s Charity and never misses an opportunity to encourage young Ontario skiers.
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