Get to know your new WMSC BC Dev team members

Posted by Whistler Mountain Ski Club on Jul 20 2022 at 06:50PM PDT in 2022-2023

This spring, four of our FIS team athletes qualified for the BC Development team and are now graduating into the provincial team system. Ella Kaufman, Erin Husken, and Alexa Brownlie are named to the women’s team while Sascha Gilbert has been named to the men’s side and to highlight the next chapter in their ski racing journey, please find below an interview with them. We caught up with the four during their dryland camp going on right now here in Whistler. I hope you enjoy

So, the four of you have made the BC Development team, which is exciting! How does it feel to progress to the next level of the sport?

Ella Kaufman (EK) – It definitely gave me a feeling of accomplishment and a positive outlook on the future knowing that hard work really does pay off. It’s super exciting to know I’m a step closer to going pro and making the provincial and national team.
Sascha Gilbert (SG) – It feels great, making the team has been something that I’ve been working towards for the entirety of my ski career and it is really satisfying to know that all the hard work over the years has paid off.
Erin Husken (EH) – It feels good to know that I’m progressing in the sport. Making the steps in the right direction is a victory of its own because there is always that feeling of hard work paying off. When I attain little goals, it makes me want to see how far I can go. I feel like this next level is motivating me even more to try and push harder.
Alexa Brownlie (AB) – Making it feels great! It’s super satisfying to see all the hard work I’ve put into my skiing over the past years come together and produce results. I’m also very honoured to represent the WMSC moving to a higher level!

All of you have also started dryland training programs with your new teams and are in the middle of a camp. How is it going, is there anything new or different to the training that you had been used to with the club?

EK – The camps are jam packed full of pretty much every type of exercise. We have multiple workouts and activities a day that are making us super fit and super tired. Compared to the WMSC weight lifts, a lot of the movements are the same, the main difference is that now it’s a lot more tailored to us because the team is so small.
AB – It’s going well and awesome to be able to do it in Whistler. As well as spending time in the gym, we’ve been doing a variety of activities and cross training, I’ve done a lot with the club in the past. The workouts are similar to the FIS team this year, but I’ve found them to be more endurance focused compared to what we did through the fall and winter.
EH – The camp’s been tiring for the legs, the workouts rally pushes us. A few things that are different from the club is being late is not tolerated, every activity is done with more discipline and focus and there is much more responsibility. We have time off between workouts and activities, so it’s really important for us to be organized with our nutrition and recovery. Something similar is the that the importance of team culture, we have to follow a code of conduct, show respect for each other and understand the rules around safe sport protocol.
SG – The camps are going well. I would say that there are a lot of similarities to what I used to do with the club, I still have a lot of the same exercises and similar style workouts. I would say the main differences would be the volume of training and some more advanced and intricate workouts.

After years with the club and being with similar teammates, you’re now mixed in with athletes from across the province. How is it getting to know these new teammates? Are there things you’re learning from them? What has it been like so far?

SG – It is super fun to be with a new group of boys who all are working towards similar goals. I feel that being in a group of athletes who all operate similarly is going to be a super positive thing for my development as a skier.
AB – It’s been a change training with some new girls but getting to know them has been fun! We’ve seen each other at races over the years and now being brought together is a cool experience. After seven years with WMSC, it’s hard to no longer be on a team with some of my closest friends, however I’m excited for a change.
EK – The transition actually feels pretty natural because I knew all my new teammates a bit beforehand from the Girls Fast Forward camp last summer and always saw them at the races and training camps. I’m glad I made the effort to get to know people from other clubs over the years because these people can end up being your teammates. The six of us and Montana (Coach) are kind of building a team from nothing so we’re starting from the beginning and learning about each other, like how we work, what we like and don’t like.
EH – It’s certainly fun getting to know new people but is is also a challenge because our team has such different personalities. At this point, we haven’t spent that much time together, but I love getting to know new people and making new friends. It’s sad to leave some teammates behind but I know that I’ll always see them again and even though I’m on a new team, in a way I still feel like I’m part of the club.

This question is for Alexa, Erin and Ella. This is the first BC Women’s team that has been named in a few years, which is super exciting to see this commitment come back from the province. Is this something you think about in any way or is it business as usual?

EK – It’s very different than any other team I’ve ever been on because we’re having to basically bring the team into existence. We’re not joining an already established team like the men’s side. It’s weird being on such a small team because growing up with the club, it’s always been a crazy number of racers, but I’m lucky that half our team is from the WMSC, so Alexa and Erin being there make it feel a bit more normal. Everything else about this season is going to be different through, a new training environment, new goals, new coaches, new expectations.
EH – I definitely feel excited to be a part of something new that hasn’t been done in a while. I wouldn’t say that it changes the way I think about the team, however, whenever I think about it, I just feel grateful to have had the timing workout in my favour.
AB – It’s a huge honour! I’m excited to show everyone what we can do and that BC women can be competitive with fast girls around the country. I also hope that this team shows other girls around the proving that there is a pathway to keep progressing after the club level and are inspired to keep skiing and working hard.

This one is for Sasha, you’re stepping onto a team with some athletes who have been on the BC team for a couple years now, Tait Jordan, Hemming Sola, Dylan Timm, what’s it like to train with these athletes, is there something specific you’re learning from them?

SG – It’s super cool to be around the older boys, the comradery on the team is really strong which helps to make all of the challenges and hard workouts we do a lot more enjoyable. You can always count on to be supported by the boys when you’re really pushing yourself.

Looking back at your time with WMSC, what do you feel has prepared you for this next step? What has been the best gifts you gained from your time with the ski club?

EH – Through all my years with the club, something that has always been enforced is the way each athlete must behave like a good role model for the younger kids and the club in general. The best asset that was taught though was to carry myself in a respectful manner that demonstrates the good reputation of the club, this is certainly a skill I can apply to being on this new team.
AB – I feel like one of the most valuable things we’ve done with the club is technical free skiing. Although all those drill laps felt so tedious, I have become such a better skier because of them and I’m so grateful for all the time over the years my coaches spent helping me out with my technique.
EK – It’s not just by chance that WMSC has produced so many provincial and national team athletes. The training center (DMNTC) has been an incredible training venue and allowed me to learn on all different types of pitches. Growing up on a run that wide and long has been a really great gift. Another thing I’ve learned from the club is how to work in the gym. Richard does an amazing job of introducing people to weightlifting, creating lift programs, and teaching them the effects it will have on their skiing. Pretty much everything I know about weightlifting has come from WMSC.
SG – All of my years at the club have definitely helped me to move forward to this next step. The great coaches and opportunities the club has given me have helped me to develop as a skier. Without this support, I really don’t think I would be where I am right now. The greatest assets have been the quality training and coaching the club provides, as well as the gym. I don’t know another club with a better gym setup then WMSC.

Now looking ahead to the upcoming season, what are you looking forward to with your new teams? Any goals you wish to share or aspects of this next level that are exciting?

AB – I’m super stoked to be competing in a bigger, more competitive field and to start traveling more. Trying out the NorAm circuit is going to be so cool and I’m really excited to train in Europe for the first time. It will be fun to see some of my friends that ski out East now and race against them for the first time since U14.
EK – For all six of us, the obvious goal is to turn our development team into the actual provincial team. We’re all working really hard starting now so that we make hard criteria in the ski season. Another goal we have is to pave the way for younger BC girls that want to make the step up and pursue ski racing. It’s exciting that we have a group of girls who are dedicated and who all have the same goals. We want to be role models so there will always be a BC Women’s ski team. We want the younger girls to look at us and think “That’s the team I want to make.” Then again, we’re just starting out and the six of us still have to build this team and develop our own team culture.
SG – This upcoming season, I’m looking forward to some great training in new places, as well as lots of racing. Hopefully all the training this summer and fall will help me to perform the best I can this coming year of racing. I would really like to thank everyone at WMSC that have helped me get to where I am today.
EH – I’m really looking forward to spending more time with everyone because we all push each other to be better. I’m excited to go to races with a new team and see how hard we can all push ourselves. I have a goal of making criteria for BC team and so do girls around me so that common goal we all have will hopefully only make us stronger as a team.

Thank you to Erin, Alexa, Ella and Sascha for their time and insightful answers. I hope you join us in continuing to cheer them on!


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