Kevin Sandau Retires – What's Next for the Top Canadian?
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: www.skitrax.com/sandau-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.