By Dan Walton
Windermere Valley Ski Club member Martin Grasic displayed double dominance at the Under-18 Canadian Championships of alpine skiing in Ontario, last weekend, winning both the slalom and overall titles, which earned him a first place finish overall.
Seventeen-year-old Martin, who skis on the B.C. Alpine Team, returned victorious from Osler Bluff, Ontario as the first-place slalom finisher and a strong skier in the giant slalom (GS) event that wrapped up on Saturday, February 23rd.
I was very happy to win the overall at the U18 nationals in Collingwood (town near Osler Bluff) this week, Grasic said after Sundays success. Its the first time I have won an award that requires this level of consistency, so I think it was a big step forward for me.
After qualifying as a top contender on the B.C. Alpine Club, then qualifying for the final round at the championships, Grasic competed in the two-run final round, where he registered the shortest overall time, a combined 1:44.41 only seventeen-thousandths of a second faster than the second-place finisher.
He has a super touch he really knows how hard to apply the edges to make lots of speed, said Helmut Spiegl, Martins former head coach at the Windermere Valley Ski Club. He puts just the right amount of pressure to make the skis go fast.
When Grasic can find the time, he still enjoys practicing at Panorama, as Mr. Spiegl explained.
He phones up and hes very diligent, very keen, smart kid and also personality wise, super polite. Hes always appreciative of the extra training he gets here.
Asked about the challenges facing an out-of-town skier in Ontario, Mr. Spiegl said the snow creates the largest obstacle, as the dynamics of slopes in Ontario isnt comparable to the mountainous ski hills in B.C.
Every snow is different; you have to adjust to the local snow conditions, and thats probably the most challenging part coming from the west going to the east, he said. We often have softer conditions here because of the natural snow we have here mixed in with the man-made [snow] in Panorama; it doesnt always create the same hard and icy surface you find out east.