Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow

Young Manitoba skiers love extra training before World Cup event

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THERE haven't been many Manitobans who've had much good to say about all the snow, rain and now cold that has hit the province since the weekend.

But 14-year-old Alexandrea Murray of Miami and downhill ski teammates Colin Ross of Stonewall, Winnipeg's Bryant Roulston, Brandon's Gage Martinook, East St. Paul's Tori Hislop and Leah Lagoski of Gilbert Plains are six of them.

Provincial ski coach Bob Lawrie, contacted Wednesday on his skis on the slopes at Asessippi Ski Area, said the weather conditions might have been ugly for most of us, and they stranded him and his skiers in Russell Tuesday night due to poor travel conditions.

But he said the wacky weather is good for his charges as they prepare for similarly unpredictable weather and ski conditions at the Whistler World Cup in Whistler, B.C., April 10-12, so an extra day of training is great. Besides, he said, it meant an extra day off from school.

"I had to actually kind of subdue them a little bit (Tuesday) when I told them we were staying up here an extra day because of the roads," Lawrie said by cellphone as he put his team through training runs. "They were pretty happy when they heard they didn't have to go back to school."

That was seconded by Murray, a Grade 9 student at Miami School. "Yeah, it was actually really great today. That was fun." She said it didn't snow much at Asessippi Wednesday but down-hilling in the rain on the weekend will help, definitely.

"The past two years I've gone to Whistler, it's rained on race day so that's something you have to get used to," she said. "The rain makes the snow get way softer so it's harder to carve. You have to be lighter on your edges.

"And the course, when it's like that and gets softer, it gets more ruts, bigger ruts, so you have to ride the ruts instead of like actually getting to the gate and hitting it."

Ross, 15, a Grade 9 student from Stonewall Centennial School, loved the conditions.

"It was fresh snow, it was a nice temperature to be skiing in... Whistler can be lots of conditions. It can be cool one day and then the next day it can be really hot and humid so the snow's not as hard and so it can be quite slushy, just like it was on Saturday, Sunday and Monday here."

Lawrie said the provincial program is producing better results all the time.

"We started going out to this event for the first time in 2002 and we had two athletes. Since then, we've been slowly increasing our numbers by winning quota spots at regional events. They've done a real good job this year and I think they're going to do well.

"We're not looking for any medals, unfortunately, but we are looking for top 30s."

 

chris.cariou@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 26, 2009 C5

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