This article was originally published on the Alpine Canada website.
Alpine Canada Alpin announced the names of eleven athletes who will represent Canada in their backyard at the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, which begin in Panorama, BC on February 28th.
Canada’s Mac Marcoux, one of the world’s best para-alpine skiers, is looking to add some more hardware to his illustrious season thus far.
Marcoux followed up his three-medal performance at last winter’s Paralympic Games in Sochi, Russia, by winning the Crystal Globe this year as the International Paralympic Committee’s World Cup overall champion. Now the visually impaired skier from Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., hopes to add a World Championship title to his resume while performing on home soil.
The 17-year-old will be a medal favourite when the IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships begin Saturday, through to March 10th at Panorama Mountain Resort, B.C.
“Just being at home in such a prestigious event brings up the drive just a little bit more to ski a little bit harder,” said Marcoux, who will be guided at the championships by his older brother B.J. Marcoux.
“It’s going to be really cool. We don’t really have an opportunity to compete often in Canada. I’m really excited to have a race on home snow. It brings a good feel.”
The World Championships are expected to attract more than 120 athletes from 25 countries. It’s the first time the event has been held in North America. Not only are the World Championships on home soil, the Canadian para-alpine ski team also calls Panorama home as this is where the squad regularly holds training camps.
“We are familiar with Panorama, we are used to the environment,” said head coach Jean-Sebastien Labrie. “We’ve trained many days on the hill we will race.”
“For sure it’s an advantage. It gives us more confidence. We have trained, we know the hill, and we know the terrain.”
Athletes at the championships will compete in Downhill, Super-G, Giant Slalom, Slalom and Super Combined. Labrie believes the Canadian team can claim five podiums, with Marcoux a threat in all the disciplines.
“He’s our main potential medalist,” said Labrie.
“Compared to last year, he’s got one more year of experience under his belt. He’s learning a lot every race. He used to struggle with Slalom. Now he has had a very good season of Slalom. He’s a favourite for every event we go into.”
Among the other Canadian hopefuls are: Matt Hallat of Squamish, B.C., and Braydon Luscombe of Duncan, B.C., in the Standing Slalom.
“They know the hill,” said Labrie. “It’s a very competitive field in the men’s Slalom races. It’s difficult to get in the top five. I think these guys have a shot at it.”
Kurt Oatway of Calgary also has a chance at a medal the sit-ski Downhill.
On the women’s side, veteran sit-skier Kimberly Joines of Rossland, B.C., is a favourite in the Slalom.
“The track we are racing in Slalom is probably the most difficult slope our circuit has ever raced on,” said Joines, a two-time World Champion. “It’s definitely a challenge.
“We are more familiar with the slope and have spent more time on it. Hopefully that gives us a little bit of an advantage and the confidence going into it. It’s one of those pitches that sometimes looks a little more intimidating than it actually is.”
The completion will feature both men and women with a physical impairment such as spinal injury, cerebral palsy, amputation, blindness/visual impairment and other conditions.
Athletes compete in the sitting, standing or visually impaired category depending on their functional ability. A factored timing system allows athletes with different impairments within these categories to compete against each other.
2015 IPC ALPINE SKIING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM:
Athlete, Home Town, Province
Alex Cairns Squamish, BC
Robin Fémy (Alternate Guide) Mont-Tremblant, QC
Matt Hallat Coquitlam, BC
Bradyon Luscombe Duncan, BC
BJ Marcoux (Guide) Sault-Ste Marie, ON
Mac Marcoux Sault-Ste Marie, ON
Kurt Oatway Calgary, AB
Kirk Schornstein Spruce Grove, AB
Jeff Thompson Vancouver, BC
Kimberly Joines Rossland, BC
Erin Latimer Toronto, ON
Alana Ramsay Calgary, AB