Mathieu Leduc of Comox and the Alpine Canada national ski cross team have just concluded a rigorous training session in New Zealand.
The 23-year-old Highland Secondary School grad, who honed his skills with the Mount Washington Ski Club, said the trip “down under” for the team’s first on-snow training of the year was a memorable one.
“After 16 hours of flying, a three-hour layover and three-hour drive I arrived in Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. The lakes had eight-foot waves and the wind was blowing at 120 km/h – needless to say the first day in New Zealand would be a rest day due to weather,” Leduc said.
“The next day when the weather had cleared the dramatic landscape of the central south island was very evident with its unrealistically blue lakes and windblown mountains. We were lucky to get a solid freeze and I got some technical things dialled up the next few days that we spent in Tekapo. After three days we departed to Wanaka to ski the ski cross track at Cardrona.
“The track was well set up when we arrived at the hill and we took advantage of some more solid weather for the first week in Cardrona to get ourselves comfortable on a ski cross track once again.
“Our hosts, the Australian and Kiwi ski cross teams, had been there a few weeks before us so most of the track was well tested for us and I quickly felt back up to speed on course.
“We hit some less favourable weather the next week but we still managed to get some good start training sessions,” Leduc recounted. “After a tough summer of training I was happy with how strong I was feeling in the start gate and on the track every run.
“(I’m) hoping with three more weeks of dry-land training before our next camp in Stubai (a mountain range in the Central Eastern Alps of Europe) I will be able to improve on my strength some more and get final preparations done before a long and important World Cup season.”
As well as World Cup circuit, Leduc says he hopes to be at the 2014 Winter Olympics if he qualifies and the X Games if Canada is included this season. “My main goal is to improve my world rank and qualify for the Olympics,” he said.
Leduc is hoping the Valley will help him achieve his goals. “Any support would be greatly appreciated as I am still looking for a main head gear sponsorship as well as a shoulder patch sponsorship.”
He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and on his cellphone at 250-218-8174. Follow Leduc on Twitter @leducski.
Leduc is one of three skiers who graduated to the national team in 2013 after spending the previous season gaining valuable experience as a member of the men’s prospect training group.
A former alpine skier, he took part in six World Cup races in 2012-13, gaining a career-best 17th-place finish in Telluride, USA.
Leduc was the top male Canadian finisher at the 2012 national championships in Nakiska, Alta., where he placed fourth. Off the ski hill, Leduc has a passion for all sports, and baseball in particular.
The Chicoutimi, Que. native was ranked 47th in the world in 2012-13.