Let the season begin! | Skiing | CBC Sports

Let the season begin!

Posted: Friday, October 21, 2011 | 02:49 PM

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Lindsey Vonn is among the ski racers launching the new season this weekend on the picturesque Rettenbach Glacier in Austria. (Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images) Lindsey Vonn is among the ski racers launching the new season this weekend on the picturesque Rettenbach Glacier in Austria. (Alexander Hassenstein/Bongarts/Getty Images)

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Most Canadians cringe when temperatures start to drop, but there's a select group for whom excitement is building. It's as if skiers have this wonderful little secret, that falling temperatures mean the playground that is winter is nearing.

My excitement is now at a particular high as this weekend marks the beginning of the 2011-12 alpine World Cup season. As the world watches, athletes will be putting new equipment and skills to the test on the Rettenbach glacier near Soelden, Austria.
Most Canadians cringe when temperatures start to drop, but there's a select group for whom excitement is building. It's as if skiers have this wonderful little secret, that falling temperatures mean the playground that is winter is nearing.

Winter is a part of our culture here in Canada. Try as we might, there's simply no avoiding it. So why not embrace it?! It only takes a cold breeze to send the Twitter world up in arms with complaints of winter's approach. Yet at the same time, that same wind sends tweeting winter enthusiast into cheers of anticipation.

My excitement is now at a particular high as this weekend marks the beginning of the 2011-12 alpine World Cup season. As the world watches, athletes will be putting new equipment and skills to the test on the Rettenbach glacier near Soelden, Austria (not far from Innsbruck), where both a men's and women's giant slalom will be held this weekend.

I love this part of competition. It's this pre-race excitement that's most filled with nervous energy, conjecture, hopes and dreams. Some will come true, some will not, and that's why we all tune in.

Be sure to follow and cheer on our Canadian athletes this weekend through the Alpine Canada website and the online feeds found on FIS-ski.com and FISalpine.com (CBC's coverage begins Nov. 26 at Lake Louise).

Our women's team is filled with young, strong and talented athletes knocking on the door of World Cup success. Names to watch include Marie-Pier (MP) Prefontaine and Marie-Michele (Mitch) Gagnon. Our men's team will showcase athletes like Robbie Dixon and J.P. Roy's return from injury.

Every athlete has trained hard, aspiring to better old performances in hopes that one day they will reach the top of the podium. As I squat and jump in the gym, I look forward to my own return to that environment, where going as fast as I possibly can is my sole focus.

Life with such clarity is both rewarding and challenging. Like in golf, you'd think it would be easy to get the ball in the hole - amazingly, that simple focus can be the source of total frustration and elation. In skiing, going fast isn't only guts and attitude - there's an incredible finesse and art to it. It's an art that athletes like Didier Cuche and Lindsey Vonn have nearly perfected.

I look forward to seeing how these athletes carve up the canvas that is the Rettenbach glacier.

Let the season begin!

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