ESCARPMENT MAGAZINE | Winter 2014 - page 34

Escarpment Magazine Winter 2014
Bruce St. S Thornbury
Luxury Gifts and Adornments
for your body and home
You have experienced ski racing in Canada from the in-
side and your career as a journalist has kept you in the know. What are
your thoughts on today's philosophy for developing ski racers in Ontario?
It's sad that we seem to be developing the best of the richest ski
racers. Skiing is an expensive sport that somehow needs to be more af-
fordable for everyone so coaches have a bigger group of athletes to
choose from. Kids in grade 2 in Alberta receive a free seasons pass to
learn how to ski or snowboard. We need corporate Canada's help to
encourage kids to get outside and play.
Do you feel the weight of our nation’s expectation is too
great for our young Olympians?
No. We come from a country that has a history of winning. Our
history in ski racing, since Lucille Wheeler in 1956, says that we should
be winning. I didn't idolize the Crazy Canucks because they partici-
pated. I wanted to win just as badly as they did and no
expectations were bigger than my own. If Olympians solely think about
participating, don't bet on them winning a medal. Setting high goals is
essential to being a successful athlete.
What is the greatest challenge facing our athletes today?
Money, cash, cabbage, coin, dough, bread, scratch,
skins, chicken feed, green, mazuma, coinage, dinero...
You grew up ski racing at Georgian Peaks Ski Club right
here on the Escarpment. How did you make the transition from our little
hills to mountains like Kitzbuhel?
The beauty of growing up skiing on the Escarpment is not know-
ing any differently. I thought Wilson's Wiggle was the steepest, scariest
hill on earth until I started to travel to other provinces. Making the transi-
tion was frightening at times but what I realized was that it was still just
skiing. The best advice I received when I was close to soiling my suit
in the start at Kitzbuhel was to have fun. My coach said, “This is what
you do best—just go have fun and you will be fine.”
You had many coaches growing up ski racing, who stands
out in your mind and why?
Mike Zahnt. He coached me when I was a snotty nosed kid at
Georgian Peaks and showed me how to ski with a style and freedom
that was very prevalent in his technique. Mike had passion for the sport
and showed us how to have fun every day on the hill. We didn't train
gates constantly but explored every inch of the mountain with our friends
and those every day adventures taught me how to love the sport.
Will you encourage your own children to get into compet-
itive ski racing?
I won't, it's too dangerous.
Often times throughout your commentary during a race
you share intimate stories about athletes and their coaches. Can you share
anything you’ve seen/heard that stands out as particularly interesting or
There are stories out there, but what I have come to realize
hanging out with sports celebrities is that they are normal just like you
and me. They love life and the sport they are in and will have great mem-
ories for the rest of their lives. It goes by quickly, I just wish somebody
had told me how quickly my career would flash by. That way I could re-
member more of the great stories.
in conversation with brian stemmle
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