Panorama Mountain Village (just up the valley near Invermere) is hosting World Cup racing this week, and more than 100 para-alpine athletes from 20 countries — including Kimberley’s Josh Dueck — will be trying jostling for a place on their nation’s Paralympic team.
That’s something Dueck doesn’t have to worry about. The silver medalist in slalom from Vancouver 2010 has already met the qualifying criteria for Canada’s Paralympic team and will be heading to Sochi next month.
Dueck’s attitude has always been to strive for excellence while enjoying the mountains and he told the Bulletin before Christmas that he was beginning to find again that real joy in skiing that took him to the podium in 2010. He also said he really feels he can medal again. That’s the goal.
“With less than 50 days to go before #Sochi2014 I am once again enjoying being in a space of wonder and playfulness with my skiing,” he said in his blog. “My objectives for the journey ahead of me can be measured in two ways, qualitative and quantitative. My priority is to go and have fun in Sochi and play with whatever the mountains and courses have to offer. I want to show the world how fun our sport is and the power of movement and momentum.
“From a quantitative perspective I would love to do well, hear the Canadian anthem and see our flag raised after a successful day on the race track. I’d love to be able to share this with all my friends and family that believe in the power of sport and have supported my journey as a skier.”
That family got a little larger this year as Dueck and his wife welcomed a baby girl, Nova Autumn, on October 15, 2013.
Dueck is very excited to be in the Kootenays for a World Cup event this week (racing begins on January 10). His season began in southern-hemisphere races earlier last fall.
“I’m really excited to race,” said Dueck. “In New Zealand we were at a different stage of prep. I wasn’t feeling as ready as I am now for the season. I feel like I’m in a lot better position. I’m really looking forward to racing.
“Growing up in the Kootenays, I’ve always had a synergy with the snow and the conditions and the valley, and I think the track is going to be suited to those of us who like to go fast.”
He also looks forward to racing a downhill, a speed event that is not included in every set of races. He won the Downhill at the World Championships in 2009.
The races will be run on a brand-new downhill track of international quality that has been built in advance of the 2015 IPC Alpine Skiing World Championships, which will also be held in Panorama. Kimberley also bid for the World Championships but was not accepted.