According to plan, if not according to schedule, Whistler's Victoria Whitney was selected to join the Canadian Alpine Ski Team's training group for the 2009-2010 winter season.
She has been with the program since early May, spending a week at Sunshine Village training on snow before heading to the University of Calgary and Canada Olympic Park for a month of dryland training with the team.
She returned to Whistler on Sunday to train independently for three weeks, then will return to Calgary for another training session before flying to New Zealand.
"It's not really a huge step up (from the B.C. Ski Team). Training is training, dryland is dryland. The biggest difference for me is that I was the only girl on the team last year and was with guys through the season, so it's a little different that way," she said. "There are also ore coaches and there's more support, and a few experts here and there - it's not a lot different, but it is the next step."
Whitney has paid her dues at every level.
She spent most of the 2007-2008 season on the sidelines with a torn ACL, but made a huge impact returning to the B.C. Ski Team last season with a super G win at a Nor-Am Cup race at Panorama, a bronze medal in a Nor-Am giant slalom at Nakiska, and numerous top-10 results in all four disciplines while racing in North America and Europe.
Her season ended with a serious crash at the World Junior Championships in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, and a helicopter ride to the hospital where she was diagnosed with extensive bone bruising to her tibia, and some damaged muscles in her knee. She considers herself lucky, because she was back in training after a few months for an injury that can take half a year to heal.
She's now 100 per cent and looking ahead to a season that will include Nor-Am races, more Europa Cup events, and possibly a chance to race in a World Cup.
"Last year Georgia (Simmerling on the development team) got to race at Lake Louise, so it's possible," said Whitney, who turned 19 last week. "Sometimes at Lake Louise if they can get more people through the training runs they'll decide to let a couple more racers go through. It's really last minute, but there's a chance."
Whitney will focus on her strengths next season, which means the speed events of downhill and super G, as well as giant slalom. She is not focusing much attention on slalom, but will race a few Nor-Ams if she gets an opportunity.
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