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Matt Hallat - Racing in B.C.'s Interior

Matthew Hallat has been a member of Canada's Alpine team for five years, and competed at the Torino games. He lost his right leg through the knee to cancer at the age of five, but despite that, he grew up loving sports besides skiing like soccer, baseball, mountain biking and golf.

Matthew Hallat was the 2007 Canadian National Champion in Slalom and Super G (Photo courtesy of Alpine Canada Alpin)

After four short days at home we made our way to Kimberley Alpine Resort for 4 days of racing where we competed in two Downhill races and two Super G races. Kimberley is a regular stop for our team; we have skied there so many times we know the hill just as well as our local hills at home.

One thing that is a virtual guarantee about Kimberley is that there will be sunny skies and great conditions for ski racing; this week was no different. The week started with 2 days of Downhill training runs in preparation for the Downhill race held on Thursday. Downhill training days went well for me. I took this time to try and implement a few changes we thought would improve my overall times. I also worked on some equipment in order to improve the setup I have.

Race day consisted of two Downhill races in one day. The top section of the Kimberley race hill is pretty flat, with some rolling terrain, and the last 25 seconds is down a fairly steep pitch, with the speed increasing all the way to the finish line.

I made a couple of errors in the first run and finished in second place behind my teammate Morgan Perrin. I was about 2 seconds behind after the run, which I was all right with, but I knew I had a good chance of closing the gap if I could clean up the two mistakes in the second run.

I managed to clean up one big mistake in the second run, but did still make a small mistake going into the pitch. I crossed the finish line going 104 km/hr and once again finished second to Morgan, but this time only 0.75 seconds behind. Overall I was happy with the performances. Morgan is a very strong Downhill and Super G skier, while these events are not my strongest, so my performance was strong overall and gave me some good confidence going into Super G the next day.

Super G race day was once again a beautiful Kimberley day and I was trying to take the confidence I gained from the Downhill into Super G. The first run I skied very well in the top flat section. I made a small mistake going into the pitch, but was able to still ski the lower section pretty well, so I crossed the finish line and narrowly nudged out Morgan by 0.40 to finish first. The second run was much the same. The speed that I carried into the pitch was much faster than in the first run, which caused me, like many others, to get late in the lower section, but I was able to pull it off and finish first for a second time that day.

Matthew Hallat is training for the 2010 Olympics in his home province. (Photo courtesy of Alpine Canada Alpin)

Overall Kimberley was a good week for me skiing on the NorAm circuit and I had some strong results heading into the Canadian Championships the following week.

After a day of travel and a day of free skiing, our National Championships were underway at Sun Peaks resort just outside of Kamloops BC. The first race day was a challenge in that it snowed nearly 30 cm’s. The race crew did do a good job in getting the hill ready and we were able to host the first of two Giant Slalom races.

The first two days of Giant Slalom were not very friendly for me. I struggled in the soft snow conditions and was unable to finish the first race, and crashed again in the second race. I have always struggled in soft snow conditions, which is a bit surprising considering the amount of skiing I do in Whistler, but it is definitely something I would like to address in the off season.

Fortunately for me the last two days of the season were Slalom races, the event that is currently my strongest. The first of the two races, just as in Giant Slalom, was the National Championship, while the second was a NorAm race. I skied a solid first run the first day and was able to take a two second lead into the second run. After the previous two days of being unable to finish without a big mistake I wanted to have a solid second run, and cross the finish line with a solid time. I was able to do just that and maintain my overall two second lead and retain my Canadian National Slalom title.

For the second slalom race I had a very strong first run and carried a three second lead into the second run. I once again was just trying to cross the finish line and maintain my lead, which I was able to do, finishing first for a second straight slalom and capturing a fourth race win in the two week series.

Overall the two weeks of competition to end our season was a success for me. I was able to work on a few aspects of my skiing that needed addressing, and was able to work with my equipment a bit to try and improve things heading into next season. Right now I am at home resting and preparing for what will be our first official training on the Whistler Paralympic Downhill track. I am really looking forward to the training as it is one of the areas that can give me and my teammates a good advantage going into 2010.

Check out all of Matt’s updates at www.matthallat.com

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