Catching Up With…Cam Stephen – Women’s Head Coach, Ontario Ski Team

Hello All, 

Writing to you from a snowy day here in Collingwood at the AOA offices. This is my third season with the Ontario Ski Team, but with the world being what it has been over the last three seasons, we thought it was time for me to say hello! I am an Ontario boy who grew up in an army family with several moves around Canada and Europe. My family was definitely a skiing family, but we were never a racing family. Growing up, skiing was spending weekends at our local hill and the odd ski trip over school holidays. Ski racing was never a game that occurred to me to play as a kid, but man did I love to ski.

Skiing started to get more serious when we moved to CFB Borden where I completed an instructors in training course at Ski Snow Valley and helped out with the cubs as part of my community service requirements for high school. The next season I completed my CSIA Level 1 and then later my CSCF Level 1. By the end of high school, I was coaching on weekends. With an internship requirement in university, I took the opportunity to work at the National Ski Academy on their strength and conditioning programs and then had the good fortune to work with the FIS groups on snow.  Upon graduation from university, I went west to work with several clubs, the Alberta Ski Team and Alberta Alpine. I also coached in New Zealand for four years in our off-season.

Most recently I spent most of December with the Canadian Alpine Ski Team women’s tech groups in Europe. For close to  four weeks, I travelled with the team in Italy, Austria, and France. It was a humbling and eye-opening opportunity to see how the game works at the highest levels. The effort, work, determination and resiliency that the National Team athletes put in day in and day out was simply amazing to see! It’s pretty awesome to work with some of the best in the world as they chase their dreams of being the fastest in the world.

As a guy that didn’t ski race it’s amazing to think about the journey over the last 20+ years.  It’s pretty neat to have the opportunity to return to my roots and see many of the influential mentors and coaches from my early days still out at our local clubs. To all those that took the time to help me to improve my basic skiing and coaching skills, I can’t say enough other than thank you! Without the daily coaching sessions as a young guy I would never be where I am today. To those in our coaching ranks, I would say anything is possible if you are willing to work, learn, be comfortable with a little bit of discomfort, and chase new experiences. 

Although ski racing is the context, it continues to be the people that make the sport special for me. The connections I have made with so many people in Ontario, Canada, and around the world are truly special and extraordinary. I count myself lucky to work in the sport, with our athletes, coaches, parents, officials, administrators, sponsors, and volunteers. It’s easy to forget it in these crazy times but it’s the people that make ski racing the greatest game on earth.

If you ever see the Ontario Ski Team around, don’t hesitate to come say hi!

If you would like to learn more about coaching and how you could become one, please click here.