CALGARY, Canada — A handful of former national team athletes who did not meet qualifying criteria for the 2014-15 Canadian Alpine Ski Team, which was announced Thursday (May 15), are either continuing to work towards qualification or are moving on to pursue different goals.
Julien Cousineau, Jeffrey Frisch, Conrad Pridy, and Elli Terwiel, who did not meet criteria for this year’s national team, will continue their competitive careers via other training and racing options.
A slalom specialist who first made the team in 1998, Cousineau is a familiar face on the World Cup circuit. The funny, engaging native of Lachute, Que., was eighth at the 2010 Olympics, had two top-10 World Cup finishes in 2010-11 and was fifth at the 2011 world championships. ‘Cousi’ battled injuries in 2012-13 and 2013-14, but has the talent and experience to be a contender at the very highest level. Cousineau plans to ski independently during the 2014-15 season and hopes to battle back to the top 15 at the World Cup level.
“I still believe that I can get back to the top 15, and I do think I have some great skiing left in me,” he said.
Cousineau became a father in 2013 when his wife gave birth to their first child, Benjamin.
An experienced multi-discipline skier who has top-30 World Cup finishes in downhill, super G and giant slalom, Frisch, from Mont-Tremblant, Que., is a five-time Canadian champion. Born in Italy to a Canadian mother and Italian father, he suffered the heartbreak of injuring his left knee two days before he was due to race at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. But he showed great perseverance to fight his way back onto the national team last season in 2013-14 after undergoing a total of five knee or leg surgeries. Having not met the necessary qualification benchmarks for the 2014-15 national team, Frisch is determined to make it back to top form, and will continue to race independently this upcoming season. He is currently seeking sponsors and already has plans to travel to Europe to train in Austria this summer.
“I really thought about what I want to do, and I feel like I have more in me,” Frisch said. “I showed what I can do last year, and I want to keep going.
“I feel like there are still possibilities to do it on my own, and for me it’s a challenge that I want to accept…I want to pursue my goals.”
A speed specialist, Pridy was first named to the national team in 2012. The native of Whistler, B.C., has recorded three top-30 World Cup results in downhill. Conrad is determined to succeed and has his sights set on continuing to train and race.
“This past season itself didn’t go as planned, but l know what I’m capable of and I want to keep skiing,” Pridy said. “My plan for next year is to train hard this summer and, come November, be ready to give it one more kick at the can.”
Pridy said support from his coaches has taught him to believe in himself and his love of representing Canada through skiing.
When he’s not skiing, the brother of alpine athlete Morgan Pridy, enjoys playing guitar, mountain biking and surfing.
A slalom specialist from Sun Peaks, B.C., Terwiel had three top-30 finishes on the World Cup circuit during a breakout 2012-13 season, and one top-12 finish in 2013-14. She was part of the Canadian Olympic Team at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia. A full-time civil engineering student at the University of Vermont (UVM), Terwiel plans to ski full-time for the UVM Ski Team, which won the NCAA title in 2012.
“I am thrilled to be able to continue skiing at the highest level possible while I complete my third year of civil engineering,” Terwiel said. “I would like to thank the community of Sun Peaks, my parents, my brother Justin and everyone who donated to my fundraiser last fall to help me achieve my Olympic dream this past year. It is an experience I will never forget and will cherish for the rest of my life. I can’t wait to get back on skis this summer and train as hard as ever!”
Athletic excellence seems to run in the family; Terwiel’s grandfather, John Gossage, was a member of the Canadian swim team and her brother Justin is a professional downhill mountain biker.
Zaitsoff, of Nelson, B.C., did not wish to comment on his future plans. The 23 year old made his World Cup debut in Adelboden in 2011 and was a member of the 2013 Schladming World Championships team for Canada.
Release courtesy of Alpine Canada