Mac Marcoux (in red) and Tristan Rodgers stay close during training at Panorama Mountain Resort last week. Photo by Jade Wetherell of Alpine Canada

Para-alpine training at Panorama

Canadian national team calls Panorama Mountain Resort home base for training each season

Canada’s national para-alpine team calls Panorama Mountain Resort their home base, spending much of their training time each season on the local slope. Will Marshall, a coach with the Canadian national para-alpine team, says it works well for several reasons to have the para-alpine athletes call Panorama their home base for training.

Mr. Marshall, who grew up skiing Panorama, says the mountain’s varied terrain and amazing snow conditions make it ideal for training. But on top of that, for para-alpine skiers, there are other benefits of training locally too, such as having hotels right at the base of the lift for easy access.

“Things like that are big for us – accessibility to the mountain without having to drive, the actual lifts for keeping their legs fresh, and, also, they’ve just been coming here for a long time. It’s a good base in Canada,” said Mr. Marshall. “The team feels pretty comfortable here.”

This year’s team is looking strong, Mr. Marshall said, with a few coming back from injuries and some racers ready to go on the race circuit this year, including Kurt Oatway and Alexis Gumond. Mr. Marshall will be working a lot this year with Mac Marcoux, who is returning from a back injury this season.

“He’s one of our stars of the team,” Mr. Marshall remarked of Mr. Marcoux.

Mr. Marcoux is not just a star of the para-alpine team but is one of Canada’s top athletes, racing to gold in the Paralympic Winter Games in Korea in 2018 for downhill racing as well as bronze for giant slalom. In 2014, he got gold for giant slalom and bronze for Super G and Downhill at the Sochi Olympics. He has earned two firsts in 2019 at the World Cup Finals, for Super G and Downhill, as well as being awarded the IPC Crystal Globe Champion in 2018 for overall, downhill, and Super-G categories.

Mr. Marcoux skis in the visually impaired category. When he started to lose his vision as a kid, he researched sports he would still be able to excel at as a visually-impaired athlete.

“When my vision started going south, I looked into sports and para-athletes (and) I stumbled across skiing. I kind of jumped in right then and there,” said Mr. Marcoux. He came to the IPC World Cup scene in 2013 at only 15-years-old after catching the eye of the para-alpine team at a national race in Kimberley.

“In the 2012/13 season I started racing the World Cup and it’s been kind of snowballing since then,” Mr. Marcoux said.

Mr. Marcoux is on the mend from injuries, working to get back on the snow alongside a new ski guide, Tristan Rogers. He told the Pioneer he loves Panorama, finding there are so many varied options for training on this mountain.

“It’s pretty awesome to have this right at our fingertips,” said Mr. Marcoux. “It just feels like home.”

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