As one of North America’s biggest and most popular ski resorts, Whistler has naturally become home to quite a few professional skiers and snowboarders. If you know their faces,
it’s not uncommon to spot well-known pro riders on the chairlifts,
cruising through the Village or grabbing some lunch.
Two Canadian professional skiers who spend time skiing and training
in Whistler are Simon d’Artois and Cassandra (Cassie) Sharpe.
Both are currently at the top of their game, both having won the
World Cup Crystal Globe trophies last season in their respective Ski
Halfpipe disciplines. We spoke to Sharpe and d’Artois about riding
and training in Whistler and got an inside perspective on how much
time pro skiers and riders need to spend travelling to competitions
and other training grounds.
D’Artois has lived in Whistler his whole life, first hitting the slopes
at age 3. Now 27, he joined the Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski
Club at age 15 and was selected for the Canadian National Halfpipe
Ski Team in 2011. Before last season’s overall win, d’Artois had also
won a gold medal at the 2015 Winter X-Games and finished in 13th
place at the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.
Cassie Sharpe was born in Comox on Vancouver Island and spent
five years living in Whistler after finishing high school. She moved
to North Vancouver two years ago but frequently visits Whistler to
ski and train. Also 27, Sharpe joined the Canadian National Halfpipe
Ski Team in 2014 and has recently been dominating the women’s
halfpipe scene. She won the gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang
Winter Olympics, two golds at the Winter X-Games in 2016 and
2019 and won her second consecutive Crystal Globe last year.
D’Artois attributes his success last season to a combination of intense
training and focus. He also decided to alter his competition runs,
stepping back slightly into tricks he is confident and comfortable
“This past season I toned it back a bit so I could perform a run I
could do really, really well all the time. I backed off a bit, which
allowed me to push other aspects of my run; things like amplitude
definitely play a part in our judging scores,” d’Artois says.
Sharpe says learning how to build strength in the gym has certainly
helped her rise to the top of the field. “When I joined the Canadian
National Team, I changed how I train in the gym — going more
often and training harder. I think physical strength had more of a
direct impact on how I ski than I realized,” Sharpe says.
RIPE FOR THE PIPE
World Cup Ski Halfpipe Champs Talk about Training
at Whistler Blackcomb and Beyond
STORY BY STEVE FISHER
PAGE 36 — Photo Brendan MacKay
PAGE 37 — Top left / Photo Trennon Paynter
Top right / Photo Guy Fattal
Middle image Chantal, Cassie, and Don Sharpe at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics
Bottom two images / Photos Simon d’Artois