Out In Front
Pierre Lafontaine Moves to Cycling Canada
In late November, Cross Country Canada (CCC) named Shane Pearsall its new CEO as of January, replacing Pierre Lafontaine, who stepped down, citing family reasons and will be returning to Ottawa full time. He has accepted the role as CEO/ secretary-general for Cycling Canada, announced on Nov. 18.
Chef de mission for the 2006 Canadian Olympic Team, Pearsall was the CEO of Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton (BCS) for three years before returning to his career in the oil-and-gas industry in 2006.
A member of Canada's National men's hockey team in 1980, Pearsall is most recognized in the sport community for his work at BCS, where he developed a corporate strategy designed to build extensive relationships with the organization's major government and corporate partners that continue today. He motivated a team of dedicated professionals and managed a financially sustainable budget – all of which contributed to providing a pathway for athletes to deliver countless World Championship, World Cup and a record-setting four Olympic medals for the sports of bobsleigh and skeleton in Turin, Italy.
“We were fortuitous our leadership opportunity aligned with Shane's availability in order to move quickly and get him on board to lead our passionate staff. Shane is a proven performer in sport and business, and is driven to succeed in steering our sport's future,” said Jamie Coatsworth, chair of CCC.
In 2007, Pearsall played an instrumental role in connecting CCC with one of its long-standing corporate partners, Altagas.
“Sport has become big business, and has many synergies with the corporate sector. Success starts within our own walls. It is critical we work together as a tight-knit community that is aligned and believes in the brand, is committed to the long-term strategic goals, and is relentless in the pursuit of excellence if we truly want to create more Olympic and Paralympic champions for Canada in cross-country skiing, and, in turn, put more kids on snow. I am absolutely honoured to have the opportunity to join the Nordic community,” said Pearsall.
Lafontaine will now succeed Greg Mathieu as Cycling Canada's CEO and secretary-general in January. “I am extremely grateful for Cross Country Ski de Fond Canada's openness and flexibility to allow me to lead my team from afar, but I personally struggled with being away from both my family and the office in Canmore. I can't thank the Board enough for their support of this decision – one that is best for me,” said Lafontaine.
He brings a wealth of international experience with him to the cycling community, having served as CEO and National coach of Swimming Canada from 2005-13, followed by two years as CEO of Canadian Interuniversity Sport. A medal-winning performer, Lafontaine has achieved success working in all levels of the sport system in Canada, the U.S. and Australia.
John Tolkamp, president of Cycling Canada, said that Lafontaine “will be counted on to lead our exceptional staff towards realizing the vision of being a leading cycling nation by 2020.”
Claude Laramée Receives Award for Gatineau Loppet, Ski Tour Canada
Claude Laramée, race director at the Gatineau Loppet and president of the local organizing committee of Ski Tour Canada 2016-Gatineau, received an award in November from the Quebec government. At a ceremony in Quebec City, Stéphanie Vallée, the minister of justice and minister responsible for the Outaouais region, presented Laramée with the Dollard-morin Sports and Leisure Volunteer Award.
“Some people stand out for their generosity, passion and know-how. These qualities make them leaders in their community,” said Vallée.
The awards ceremony honoured 23 laureates who distinguished themselves by the quality of their commitment to recreation and sport in one of the following areas: regional, national, succession or volunteer support. (Editor's note: The Outaouais region of Quebec is located just east of Canada's capital city, Ottawa.)
Biathlon Canada Partners with Halti Outerwear
In November 2016, a new agreement was established between Halti and Biathlon Canada. The Finland-based clothing manufacturer cemented its role as Biathlon Canada's official outerwear and competition-clothing supplier for Canada's National team athletes through the 2017-18 season.
“Biathletes spend countless hours outside in a variety of weather conditions, so we understand the importance of having access to hightech apparel to support our goals for delivering podium,” said Eric de Nys, high-performance director at Biathlon Canada.
A partner with many high-performance snowsport teams around the world, Halti has developed and produced high-quality outdoor outfits and equipment for more than four decades. Halti will supply all warmup gear, race suits and outerwear for the National biathlon teams. Over the term of the sponsorship, Halti will also provide tailored racing gear
and an assortment of product designed to ensure the Canadian team is fully prepared to win.
“The Canadian sport community and the leisure market have played an important role for Halti for many years, and it is our goal to be even more prominent with Canadian retailers in the future,” said Sami Kiiski, CEO of Halti.
Halti designs and manufactures clothing collections for various sports, including hiking, climbing, alpine and cross-country skiing and active lifestyle. It is distributed in Canada through Whistler, B.C.'S Diamond Head Sports.
NNF Drive for 25 Totals $190,088
The final Drive for 25 numbers are in, and as of Dec. 7, 2016, 1,000+ donations from 45 states raised more than $190,088 for cross-country, Nordic-combined and ski-jumping development.
“It's hard to say a big enough `thank you' to a community that believes in skiing enough to provide such an astounding level of support. We'll try anyway: THANK YOU!!!” wrote the U.S. National Nordic Foundation (NNF) in a release.
“The U.S. cross-country, Nordic-combined and ski-jumping teams have been operating on a flat or diminished budget for years. Powerhouse Nordic nations, our competitors, have budgets over 25 times that of the US Ski Team. . . . We have stepped in to fill a part of that void; to make sure that today's up-and-coming skiers have the high-quality racing and training opportunities required to be successful in our sport, year after year,” reads the NNF website.
Some $158,787 is earmarked for cross-country, while the remaining $31,301 is destined for Nordic-combined and for ski jumping. A map of the U.S. indicates that 154 donations were received from Utah, 108 from Alaska and 81 from Idaho.
Nbcuniversal to Launch Domestic Olympic Channel
In mid-december, Nbcuniversal announced a groundbreaking collaboration to connect fans to the Olympic movement. The International Olympic Committee (IOC), the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Nbcuniversal have created a comprehensive Olympic TV channel content-and-distribution partnership for the United States to launch in 2017 prior to the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.
United States Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) officials anticipate the new channel will be a vital outlet for coverage of skiing and snowboarding in America and a key part of the USSA'S efforts to raise the visibility of its sports.
“We applaud Nbcuniversal's continued commitment to expanding the reach of ski and snowboard programming and the partnership with both USOC and IOC,” said Michael Jaquet, USSA Chief Marketing Officer.
According to Jaquet, the new Olympic Channel will play a key role in the evolution of the USSA'S mutual efforts with Nbcuniversal, the USOC and International Ski Federation's (FIS) World Cup rights-holders Infront and EBU to expand distribution opportunities for skiing and snowboarding in America.
“Access to our athletes as they compete around the globe has been one of the core goals of the USSA to grow the viability of our sport,” said Tiger Shaw, USSA president and CEO.
FIS Launches Official App
In mid-december, the International Ski Federation (FIS) announced the launch of its new official mobile application – the FIS App. Available on Android and IOS devices, the FIS App will be a one-stop shop for all the news, information, live-timing and data for all FIS disciplines at all competition levels.
It features, in part, exclusive video content, including near-live videoclips five minutes after World Cup races; easy-to-use filtering and selection features for athletes, events and key data; the ability to favourite athletes and nations and to customize the user experience; and all historic data in a user-friendly find-and-filter for all FIS competition levels.
Masterpower Waxing System Becomes CCC Official Supplier
Cross Country Canada (CCC) announced in December that the Masterpower Cold Apply Ski Waxing
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System is the exclusive cold-wax system of the Canadian National Ski Team Official Supplier Pool program.
Masterpower was the first new cold-apply wax system to be launched in the European market in 2008. It has gained popularity and is used by some of the best national ski teams. Fast, efficient and safe, the Masterpower Waxing System buffs on a specially formulated highgrade glide wax.
Masterpower approached Canadian Wintersports, one of Canada's leading Nordic-product distributors, to tackle the North American market.
“We know that this new system will give an edge to our athletes, and we are proud to grow our support for cross-country skiing in Canada,” said Peter Rozmovits, president of Canadian Wintersports.
Canada to Host 2019 Para-nordic Worlds in Prince George, B.C.
World Para-nordic Skiing, Cross Country Canada and the Canadian Paralympic Committee are pleased to announce that the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club in Prince George, B.C. has been chosen to host 2019 World Para-nordic Skiing Championships.
Approximately 140 athletes from more than 20 countries will compete in Para cross-country-skiing and biathlon events.
The event will mark the first World Championship held in the city of Prince George. In 2015, the city successfully hosted the 2015 Canada Winter Games, the country's largest domestic multisport event.
“Thank you to World Para-nordic Skiing for recognizing that Prince George offers world-class venues, volunteers and experiences for athletes,” said Lyn Hall, mayor of Prince George.
“Less than a year after the Pyeongchang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games, the 2019 World Para-nordic Skiing Championships in Prince George will be a fantastic opportunity to expose Canadians to world-class competition,” added Karen O'neill, CEO of the Canadian Paralympic Committee.
Canada has a rich history in Para-nordic skiing. Brian Mckeever has won 13 Paralympic medals in three Games, including a record 10 gold. His brother and original guide, Robin, is now a National coach in the sport.
“This is a terrific milestone for our club, our members and volunteers,” said Kevin Pettersen, chair of the Local Organizing Committee. “Hosting this World Championship in 2019 is a natural progression from hosting the Canada Winter Games and the facility improvements at the Caledonia Nordic Ski Club.”