The Canadian men’s World Cup ski team has reached into its past hoping for improved results in the future. Burkhard Schaffer, who worked with Canadian Cowboys like Erik Guay, Jan Hudec and Manuel Osborne-Paradis early in their careers, has returned as head coach of the speed team after eight years of working with other countries.
Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada’s vice-president of sport, says Schaffer has already had an impact in summer training: “He’s done a great job personalizing their programs and making sure they’re getting the most out of every single session.”
More from Kristofic about the national team and the upcoming World Cup season:
Olympic hangover@: Hudec had a busy summer after winning a super-G bronze medal at the Sochi Games. He didn’t let the attention affect his training. “He’s done a bigger volume on snow this summer than he has the last couple of years.”
Mending Erik@: Guay, who has a record 22 World Cup podium finishes, had knee surgery in the spring and won’t return to snow until December. “The doctors are happy with his progress. This is a rehab we have to get right.”
Finding Manny@: Osborne-Paradis, who has three World Cup wins, is still looking to regain his form after tearing up his knee in January 2011. “He’s working hard on snow to find that consistency.”
Next Wave@: Morgan Pridy finished 10th in the super-G at Sochi. He can also ski downhill and GS. Kristofic says the 23-year-old from Whistler reminds him of a young Guay. “He’s a pretty exciting young prospect.”
“Back on track@: Ben Thomsen burst on the scene with a downhill 2nd in 2012, but took a step back last year. This spring he had to fight for his spot on the national team. “He had a bit of a reality check and has reinvested in himself.”