Giving back and having fun 

A week at home and now I'm back on the road and feeling refreshed. My stomach is full of home-cooked food and my mind is stocked up with Canadian news and current movies! The week went by quickly, but it felt good nonetheless.

I mean it's only a 10-hour flight to and from Europe; really, it's nothing.

While I was at home I did get a chance to do some skiing - in fact I was on the hill my first day home. It felt great to be out on the mountain. I left my race skis in the garage, grabbed my fun skis, and off I went to go and play.

I even skied in the rain one day. I'm not sure what I was thinking, but I was having a blast.

Just before flying to Europe on Jan. 17 I also had a chance to help out Jacques Morell with the race training session that runs every Friday for Whistler-Blackcomb's Ski School instructors.

Those of you who skied that day know how hard the snow was - as we West Coaster's say, it was like "skiing out east".

The snow was firm, perfect for a day of race training, and I had a great time. Not only was I able to work on my own skiing, I hope I was also able to give some of the ski instructors who were there some insight into what racing is all about.

Sometimes I think that we, in the ski world, tend to treat the racing side of skiing and the instruction side as two different things. I'm not saying there aren't differences between the two. But while there are differences, there are also similarities. We all speak the same language, even though one aspect is focused on teaching the sport while the other aspect is focused on perfecting it.

Whistler and Blackcomb provide such a great atmosphere for these two sides to connect. We hold ski school competitions, snowboard competitions, freeride competitions, and all kinds of ski races, from gates to cross events. Ski racing and ski school already have, and should keep, a close link. The mountain already has a strong ski club that is filled with some amazing athletes - just look around on the Upper Dave Murray sometimes and you'll see some hot skiing. I watched them train just the other day and man, was I impressed!

Most of those racers were in ski school at one point. Ski school also builds an appreciation of the sport, which also benefits the club.

What the ski club really needs is support from their home mountain. I know there is already a great deal of support there, but we can't forget the club.

I came through the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, and I'm so proud to be affiliated with Whistler. With the Olympics coming in 2010 it's even more important to recognize and support our up and coming athletes.

Everyone can learn from each other because, really, we are all striving to become better at the sport we love.

When you watch a racer come down the hill, you are watching the essence of skiing and the perfection of the power that can be built into the skis. The physics of the sport really come together as the racers mechanically make the right movements with their bodies.

There is always something to learn by watching others ski, whether its your peers or yourself. The sport is a constant learning curve, even at the World Cup level.

I'm glad I was able to give a little back to the sport last Friday and that I was able to share a little of what I have learned while racing. I'm sorry to say that I won't be able to make it next Friday - I'm a little too far away to get there! Anyway, enjoy the rest of the sessions and I encourage you to keep on learning and watching the world of skiing around you.

On the results side of things, both the women's and men's World Cup teams have been posting some excellent results. Genevieve Simard won her first ever World Cup in the super G. I saw her at the beginning of the week and was able to give her a big congrats.

On the men's side, Thomas Grandi finished fifth in the slalom race in Wengen, Switzerland last weekend and Julien Cousineau finished 10 th . My brother Michael also started in that race but didn't qualify in the top-30 for a second run. He will get another chance at the next slalom race in Kitzbuhel, Austria.

Until the next time, keep enjoying the mountains and following the team. And thanks again for reading. All the best.

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