Teen has sights on the sum­mit

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Ma­gog

It takes a spe­cial kind of in­di­vid­ual to be­come a pro­vin­cial alpine ski cham­pion at only thir­teen years of age: the kind who doesn’t mind train­ing al­most ev­ery day of the week, even when the high tem­per­a­ture of the day is only -22. Last week, on a day when the tem­per­a­ture was so frigid

I couldn’t bring my­self to ven­ture out­side for a quick snow-shoe, I spoke with the young Ma­gog ski phe­nom­e­non In­grid Gen­dron late in the af­ter­noon, af­ter she’d been train­ing all day on the slopes of Mt. Edouard, near Chicoutimi.

Last win­ter’s pro­vin­cial cham­pion of the slalom in the 13 to 14 year-old cat­e­gory, In­grid went on to com­pete at the CanAm Cup at Mt. Trem­blant in March where she was im­pres­sive enough, with two top ten fin­ishes, to gar­ner an in­vi­ta­tion to rep­re­sent Team Canada at the an­nual Whistler Cup, held last April, in Bri­tish Colom­bia.

This year’s ju­ve­nile com­pet­i­tive ski­ing sea­son be­gins in just a few weeks, how­ever, In­grid has been train­ing since Oc­to­ber, hav­ing earned her­self a po­si­tion on the Equipe Élite Alpin de l’Estrie, a team of eigh­teen ath­letes from the fol­low­ing ski clubs: Ad­stock, Bromont, Or­ford, Owl’s Head and Sut­ton. Th­ese ath­letes, all be­tween 13 and 19 years old, fol­low an in­ten­sive pro­gram spread over eight months, train­ing five days a week dur­ing the reg­u­lar sea­son. The ath­letes also travel to at­tend spe­cial train­ing camps early in the sea­son long be­fore the snow starts to fall around here, go­ing as far as Aus­tria and Panorama Moun­tain, in Bri­tish Colom­bia, back in late fall. “I’ve been ski­ing at Or­ford since I was three years old and I be­gan rac­ing when I was eight. I liked it right away!” com­mented In­grid in the in­ter­view, her en­thu­si­asm coming through loud and clear. “When I was at the Whistler Cup last year I was the youngest skier there. I got beat by six sec­onds, so I learnt that I had to try much harder.”

“This year’s races will be start­ing in just a few weeks; Jan­uary and Fe­bru­ary are go­ing to be very busy months,” said In­grid. Her first races are re­gional, be­gin­ning on Jan­uary 19th, at Owl’s Head. “This first race is an im­por­tant one. Points from last year and this first race will de­ter­mine if the ath­lete will be clas­si­fied as U16 or U16 Can-am. U16 Canam ath­letes will par­tic­i­pate in FIS (In­ter­na­tional Ski Fed­er­a­tion) races this year and will also get the chance to pick up FIS points for a bet­ter po­si­tion (start) for the next year,” ex­plained In­grid’s mother, Penny Tétreault. Fol­low­ing the re­gional races are the provin­cials, fol­lowed by the Can-Am and the Whistler Cup, as long as In­grid con­tin­ues to ski like the ‘speed de­mon’ she ap­pears to be.

“My aim this year is to fin­ish first of the 14 year olds. That’s my main goal but it would be really nice to be able to go back to Whistler,” ex­plained In­grid.

A stu­dent of Col­lege Notre-Dame des Servites, in Ayer’s Cliff, In­grid ad­mit­ted that keep­ing up with school work is a real chal­lenge when you spend so much time on the slopes. “I al­ways have to be care­ful to or­ga­nize my time really well to get all my school­work done. You have to bring the home­work on the ski trips with you,” In­grid men­tioned. “But the hard­est thing is prob­a­bly the cold. I’m not great with the cold when it gets to be about -20 and -22, and when it’s really windy that’s the worst. But we train any­way; even if it’s just a few runs, it’s bet­ter than noth­ing. It’s the price you have to pay for your sport.”

And that’s not the only price. There’s also an an­nual, al­most $20,000 price tag to train and com­pete on the elite Estrie team. Thank­fully, In­grid has re­ceived a $1500 grant from the An­nie-Per­reault Golf Tour­na­ment to go to­wards her train­ing and a spaghetti din­ner fundraiser is also be­ing or­ga­nized for Fe­bru­ary 23rd and will be held at Mont Or­ford, where it all be­gan. More in­for­ma­tion about her fundrais­ers can be found on In­grid’s web­site.

Ask­ing the young slalom skier what mo­ti­vates her to stick with the in­ten­sive train­ing, the bumps and bruises and sore mus­cles, she sur­prised me with her an­swer: “I really like the feel­ing of be­ing out­side, out in the fresh air, and be­ing with friends. And I love the adren­a­line rush that you feel right at the start of each race!” Her plans for the fu­ture: “I hope I reach the Olympics one day!”

Although most peo­ple aren’t too pleased with the amount of snow we’ve re­ceived so far this win­ter, skiers, of course, look at things dif­fer­ently. “This is the most snow I’ve seen in three years. It really makes the ski­ing bet­ter!”

Ma­gog skier In­grid Gen­dron af­ter she won last sea­son’s pro­vin­cial cham­pi­onship.

Pho­tos courtesy

Alpine skier In­grid Gen­dron has been train­ing since Novem­ber for this sea­son’s com­pet­i­tive races.

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