TORONTO, ON – One of the oldest sports a part of the FISU Winter University Games, alpine skiing wil once again take centre stage at the Lake Placid 2023 World University Games in January.
Alpine Canada and U SPORTS announced that 12 alpine skiers will hit the slopes at Mount Van Hoevenberg, looking to add to the past three medals Canadian has won in the sport, the first of which came at the Lake Placid 1972 Games when Lisa Richardson captured gold.
The alpine athletes will compete in super-G, Slalom, Giant Slalom and Mixed Team Parallel while also racing an alpine combined, an event that had been rumoured to be removed from the international and university racing programs.
With the RSEQ being the only university sport conference to feature competitive alpine racing, the Canadian contingent is made up of primarily Quebec-based athletes, coming from the Laval Rouge et Or and Montreal Carabins programs.
However, it also includes skiers from the University of Calgary, which feature an FIS-sanctioned ski racing program, and four from the NCAA.
Beachamp, Dets, Timmerman and Yates all return from the roster nominated for Lucerne 2021, last year’s Games that were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Leading the alpine team will be former Carabins head coach Michel Huot, alongside Laval head coach Alice Stroll.
NCAA skiers carry the weight of expectation
Claire Timmerman of the University of Utah, Mika-Anne Reha of Middlebury College, Aidan Marler of St. Lawrence University, Caeden Carruthers of the University of Alaska and Dawson Yakes of Montana State bring a wealth of university racing experience to the FISU games.
With National Team prospects of their own and experience racing on American hills against some of the best in the NCAA, they are the primary hopes for Canadian medals in Lake Placid.
Timmerman, 21, has won six FIS-level races and has posted top-10 results in every discipline on the Nor-Am circuit, a common pathway to the World Cup tour for Canadians and Americans. She also won a super-G silver medal at Canadian Championships in 2019.
Reha also has experience on the European and Nor-Am circuits and finished 10th in slalom at the 2022 Canadian championships, behind four current members of the Canadian national team.
Carruthers, 20, brings Nor-Am and FIS experience on the men’s side, and Marler also brings a similar experience.
A medal hope, however, is Yates, who developed through the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, and at 22, will be in his FISU prime in Lake Placid. While he hasn’t posted the best recent results at the Nor-Am level, he will be one to watch in super-G and downhill.
RSEQ skiers heading south
Coming from the Montreal Carabins, Caroline Beauchamp heads to Lake Placid alongside her teammate Laurence Alain on the women’s side. At the same time, fellow Montreal skier Pierre-Elliot Poitras joins the men’s team.
From Laval, Gabrielle Fafard and Ashley Bourret are both poised to race in the women’s competition.
Beauchamp, a second-year medical student at the University of Montreal, has international experience in racing on the Nor-Am Cup and European Cup, finishing 9th in parallel slalom in 2020 on the Nor-Am circuit. In addition, she has raced at the Canadian National Championships, where she posted top-8 results in the super-G (2019) and GS (2020).
Alain, who specializes in GS, will compete internationally for the first time, making her debut against athletes from outside of North America.
Meanwhile, Laval’s Fafard, of the Mont St Anne Ski Club is set to race her international event outside of FIS-level races, joined by Bourett, who adds the FISU Games to a season that has already seen her debut on the Nor-Am Cup.
On the men’s side, Poitras will kick out of the Lake Placid gate, bringing his experience from racing in seven different countries to the FISU level. The 21-year-old may just be in his first year with the Carabins, but he has already thrived at several levels, including a 12th-place finish in GS at the 2021 Canadian Championships and winning a junior GS in Italy.
The Carabins feature one of Canada’s premier university racing programs and will have the comfort of their coach leading the way, making them valuable pieces of Team Canada’s search for medals. Meanwhile, Laval’s duo will have a familiar face around in Alice Stroll.
With familiar faces from last year’s nominated team, and athletes that have thrived in the American setup already, the Canadian alpine team could be poised for success on the slopes inn Lake Placid come January.