Jane Andison (right) and Kaysa Panke at the top of the French Alps in Tignes

Jane Andison (right) and Kaysa Panke at the top of the French Alps in Tignes

Olympic-sized surprise

A surprise dry land session was announced early last week for the members of the Red Mountain Racers.

By Linda Schulze

A surprise dry land session was announced early last week.

All Red Mountain Racers were invited, and they were joined by 23-year-old World Cup and Olympic up-and-comer Sasha Zaitsoff. Sasha is a role model for B.C. athletes and racers, especially those from Kootenay ski hills: Red Mountain, Whitewater and Fernie.

For U14 provincial alpine champion Jane Andison it was a thrill.

“It is really cool,” said Andison, “to be able to train with somebody who is where I want to be some day.”

For Zaitsoff, this is a watershed year. It’s an Olympic year and for Zaitsoff that comes with some added pressure.

“I’m going to Austria for training,” said Zaitsoff. “My goal is to get selected to compete at a World Cup slalom event in Finland in November.”

The pressure is on for this young skier and consistency is key.

“I am trying to be as fit as possible at all times. Not only do I need to peak before the Olympics in order to qualify for a spot there, but as an alpine racer, I need to peak several times over the season in order to do well at each race I go to.”

A few days later, with Zaitsoff off to Austria, several Red Mountain Racers, including provincial champion, Jane Andison, boarded a flight to take them for a three-week training camp in Tignes, France.

Accompanied by their coach, Mike Osatiuk, these Red Mountain Racers are having the opportunity to train right alongside the national teams of France and Canada as they prepare for the first Alpine World Cup downhill of the season, in  Solden, Austria.

“Watching the French and Canadian ski teams is very inspirational,” said Andison. “I’ve been particularly excited watching Tessa Worley [French National Team member rated third in GS in World Cup rankings], she is just amazing.”

Ski swap

Local ski racers and enthusiasts will get their first fix of skiing with the annual Red Mountain Racers ski swap set to take place this Saturday, Oct. 26 at Willi Krause Field House in Trail. Gear drop off is at 8:30-11 a.m. with the swap doors opening at the crack of noon.

Phil Patterson, head coach of Red Mountain Racers, and several Nancy Green coaches will be on hand to answer questions regarding Nancy Green registration.

Lesley Chisholm of Lesley Chisholm photography will be there with a team photo of Nancy Green ski racers from last season—an opportunity to purchase as well as see other superb images of ski racing.

Additionally there will be an opportunity to support Sasha and wish him good luck in his bid for a World Cup and Olympic Berth in 2014.

Elaine and Peter Zaitsoff will be helping out at the swap if you happen to have any questions for these enthusiastic and supportive racer parents.

For information on the Nancy Greene Ski League, please contact ngsl.redmountainracers@gmail.com. For more information on Red Mountain Racers please go to redmountainracers.com.

Summer sking

Sammy Gaul has just returned from spending her summer, wintering in Australia.  She continued her ski training, racing in the Australian winter at Mt. Buller.

After a very successful campaign, Sammy succeeded in securing a spot at Whistler Cup 2014 coming up in April.