LAKE LOUISE, AB – The next time you’re driving down the highway I want you to consider what it would be like to be outside your vehicle travelling at 110 km/h. Then imagine strapping on a pair of skis and pointing them straight down the side of a mountain at this same speed. Now add another 50 km and you’ll be have an idea of just how fast the world’s best ski racers are.
When traveling at 160 km/h the world can zip by in pretty quick fashion, but for Canadian Alpine Ski champion Erik Guay, it’s just a day at the office. For nearly 30 years, the Canadian Alpine Ski Team has played host to the world’s first FIS alpine event of the year—the kick off to a season of ski racing. It’s all happening in the Bow Valley, on the slopes of the world-famous Lake Louise Ski Area November 26-27, 2011 for the men and December 2-4, 2011 for the women.
Guay’s pretty fired up about Bombardier’s Winterstart World Cup, and rightly so; his team has never been so strong. “The Canadian Team on the slopes this season is the most successful in our history of ski racing in Canada. It’s like watching the Oilers from back in the 80’s,” said Karen Percy Lowe, Olympic medalist and ski commentator for the CBC. “For me, the World Cup is the chance to get up close and personal with the risk and the risk-reward these athlete’s take. You really have to appreciate the excellence, regardless of the sport aspect or not.”
Canadian Alpine Team ski champion Erik Guay takes on the slopes at the Bombardier Winterstart World Cup every November in Lake Louise, Alberta.
Photo courtesy of ACA / Pentaphoto
Guay, a Calgary, Alberta resident, looks forward to kicking off the racing season in his own backyard each and every year. “For me, and my racing colleagues from around the world,” Guay began, “the thing we love about the Canadian stop of the World Cup is that we are all together in this magnificent place, within a spectacular hotel—The Chateau Lake Louise—and in this breathtaking resort of Lake Louise.”
John Cassels, Bombardier Lake Louise World Cup Chairman, has been with the event for 17 years. I asked him why someone should take interest in the race and get out to experience it. “If you were passionate about hockey wouldn’t you want to get in on a Stanley Cup game?” Cassels said. “Well if you are passionate about skiing you should be out to Lake Louise, to catch the best in the world competing for a spot on the podium.”
Having been to Lake Louise a few times before, I know what Cassels is talking about. People from around the world flock to Lake Louise to get in on the action; cow bells are ringing, the racers are buzzing. and the energy can be comparable to a Super Bowl (especially if Canada takes gold, as it did only four seasons ago with Jan Hudec’s gold-medal downhill finish).
The Vancouver Olympics was a time where Canadians celebrated winter sport like never before, and it opened the floodgates on Canadian pride. “I certainly never expected to experience that wealth of pride. And now we can continue this legacy by cheering on our athletes in Lake Louise,” said Percy.
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