North

Olympian backs Mount Sima as pre-training site for national ski team

Olympian Julien Cousineau is in Whitehorse this week examining the feasibility of Mount Sima as a host for Canada's national ski team, as well as a national race.

Julien Cousineau in Whitehorse this week to evaluate ski hill for Alpine Canada

Former Olympian Julien Cousineau is in Whitehorse this week instructing young skiiers, as well as examining Mount Sima as a potential training site for Canada's national team. (Mike Rudyk/CBC)

Whitehorse's Mount Sima ski hill could soon play host to Canada's national alpine ski team.

Former Canadian Olympian Julien Cousineau is at Mount Sima this week, both to run a training camp for Yukon's young skiers and to see whether Whitehorse could serve as a pre-training site for Canada's national team.

"It's a great hill," says Cousineau. "I do think teams should come train here. It's better than some places that we go to.

"Right now... I'm just going to help them and try to make things happen."

Mount Sima could be an attractive destination for the national team's training schedule because of its early season. Sam Oettli, the hill's outdoor operations manager, says that training could begin in Whitehorse earlier than the national team currently starts their season, and at a lower cost.

"A lot of these teams... the sooner they can get on snow, the better," says Oettli. "Currently going down south, they can get on snow Nov. 5 or 7, but at great cost — going up to high altitude.

"Here, we are pretty confident we can get them on the snow by Nov. 1, for a lot cheaper, and a lot more diverse terrain."

Cousineau also says that he will recommend Alpine Canada consider a national race at Mount Sima.

If the national team does move North, early training at the ski hill could start as early as this year.

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