Panorama native Will Marshall was honoured for his coaching excellence this year for his work with para-athlete Alana Ramsay.
“I was obviously pretty excited,” remarked Mr. Marshall of the 2017 Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award, handed out at a gala event in Calgary this November.
He said it was a boost to win the award going into this year especially, as everything the team does is on a four-year cycle leading into the Paralympics, taking place in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in March, 2018.
Mr. Marshall’s approach to coaching is to keep ski racing fun.
“I’m a firm believer in creating an environment where athletes look forward to each training camp and enjoy the four year cycle leading into the games. I’ve found this encourages athletes and staff to show up each day with an open mind and willingness to learn and develop on and off the ski hill. When you’re able to find this daily ‘buzz’ in a team you know you’re in a good place.”
He says the team is looking strong leading into this year’s World Cup season and Paralympic games, with “great momentum” coming off a successful World Cup season and the 2017 World Champs last season in Tarvisio, Italy.
“Now we’re finishing up our training blocks here in Panorama which we use as our main base for training in Canada, before heading to Europe December 6th for our first world cup of the season in St. Moritz, Switzerland,” Mr. Marshall explains.
His coaching goal this year is to bring home medals for Canada at the Paralympic games and the World Cups.
From the age of 8 when Mr. Marshall’s family moved to Panorama from England, he spent winters on the runs just steps from his door.
“I was fortunate to have grown up in the Valley, and coaching with Team Panorama before moving to working with Alpine Canada,” Mr. Marshall reflects. “I’ve had a great opportunity to learn from local Invermere coaches like Mark Sharp and Glenn Thomsen. Panorama has an amazing environment for Canadian athletes to learn and develop!”
He volunteered at the 2015 World Para Alpine Skiing championships held at Panorama and got to know the team. After taking a job with Alpine Canada, he earned a position as a coach for the Canadian World Cup team.
Like the other para-athlete coaches, Mr. Marshall has three athletes under his direction, including Alana Ramsay. Ms. Ramsay was named female para-athlete fo the year at the 2016 Canadian Ski Racing awards. During the 2015-16 World Cup Finals, Ms. Ramsay placed top-four in all events, and in the 2016-17 season earned four podium finishes at the IPC World Championships. Her World Cup rankings for 2017 include first in Slalom, Downhill, and Super-combined, third in Super-G and fourth in Giant Slalom.
The coaching excellence award recognizes coaches whose athletes have excelled at world championships, Olympic and Paralympic Games, and at the Special Olympics World Games.
“Recipients of the Petro-Canada Coaching Excellence Award are some of Canada’s most outstanding national team coaches. These coaches have dedicated their time and efforts to ensuring that athletes reach their potential on the international stage.” states the description on the awards website.