Kevin San­dau Re­tires – What's Next for the Top Cana­dian?

SkiTrax - - Out In Front - by John Sy­mon

Just af­ter the Cana­dian Na­tional Cham­pi­onships in White­horse, Yukon, Kevin San­dau an­nounced that he was hang­ing up his skis:

“To­day marks the end of my rac­ing ca­reer. The mem­o­ries are count­less and the ex­pe­ri­ences be­yond amaz­ing. I can't think of a bet­ter way to have spent the past 10+ years. Thanks so much to all the vol­un­teers, coaches, team­mates, skiers, par­ents, fans and role mod­els for the jour­ney. I'm look­ing for­ward to the next chap­ter and hope it's as good as the last. Kevout,” wrote San­dau.

San­dau is among the more colour­ful char­ac­ters to have re­cently skied with the Cana­dian team. Sk­iTrax pre­vi­ously re­ported on the con­tro­ver­sial video he pro­duced af­ter be­ing un­cer­e­mo­ni­ously dropped from the de­vel­op­ment squad af­ter the 2014-15 sea­son. He used hu­mour to crit­i­cize team man­age­ment in that video:­­dau-vsccc-de­bate-on-se­lec­tion-process.

San­dau did very well as a ju­nior, record­ing two top-30 re­sults in Europe be­fore fin­ish­ing fifth in the 15km skate at the 2011 U23 World Ski Cham­pi­onships in Otepää, Es­to­nia. Soon af­ter he was con­fronted the re­al­ity that it is dif­fi­cult for North Amer­i­cans to do well in Europe un­less they are camped out there for long pe­ri­ods.

“My time as a U23 racer was the best part of my ca­reer and af­ter my last in­ter­na­tional race then, I thought I would be on the World Cup team. What hap­pened? Was it bad luck? I ended up rac­ing do­mes­ti­cally. . . . It's just spec­u­la­tion what might have hap­pened, but I wish I could have gone to Europe more.

“Hang­ing up my skis was a tough de­ci­sion. I had some big per­for­mance gains this past sea­son and could have built off that. But it's al­ways a gam­ble say­ing `Next year will be bet­ter'; it was get­ting more ex­pen­sive. Soon I would be 30 or 31, yet no fur­ther along in chas­ing this dream. Of course, it's eas­ier if you're on the Na­tional Team and don't have to blow through your sav­ings. . . .”

Re­fer­ring to a spoof April 1 ar­ti­cle claim­ing that he had been named head coach of the Cana­dian Team San­dau quipped, “Some of my ac­quain­tances ac­tu­ally think I am now head coach. But I have no coach­ing ex­pe­ri­ence; I don't know how to pre­pare a train­ing plan. I am not look­ing for a race coach­ing ca­reer, but likely will be vol­un­teer­ing or coach­ing on a lesser level.”

While he has tal­ents mak­ing videos, San­dau is Kevin San­dau, rac­ing here at Ski Tour Canada, had solid re­sults dur­ing a 10-year ca­reer chas­ing his dream. look­ing to be­come a soft­ware en­gi­neer or com­puter sci­en­tist. “The videos are an awe­some hobby pro­fes­sion, but it is chal­leng­ing to make the industry con­nec­tions. I do not want to go from be­ing a strug­gling skier to be­come a strug­gling film­maker. A uni­ver­sity de­gree is safer to fall back on. Ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence and games are things that I am pas­sion­ate about.”

Sk­itrax also asked San­dau about his ad­vice for youth fol­low­ing in his tracks: “If I could go back [in time], I would have gone to Europe for the whole year. You have to race against faster guys. In­stead of giv­ing your 98% on the No­ram cir­cuit, push it to 105% in Europe and just try to hang on. Get in the draft of some­one faster; get out of your com­fort zone. Go to Europe where fast guys are. If [there was] sup­port for this from Cross Coun­try Canada, it would be so ben­e­fi­cial!”

Sk­itrax joins the ski com­mu­nity both at home and abroad in wish­ing San­dau the very best in his fu­ture en­deav­ours. Per­haps we haven't seen the last of this guy.

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