FIS.com Q&A with Erik Guay
The AOA U16 Camp currently in Zermatt were lucky enough to meet Erik Guay and his Canadian teammates last week. Hopefully the kids will find the time to learn more about one of Canada’s ski racing great by reading this excellent Q&A.
During his on snow training camp in Zermatt, the super-g World Champion and downhill runner-up Erik Guay from Canada took the time to answer a few questions about his successful career. An interesting interview, with an avid and very passionate athlete.
This season is definitely one for the books. In St. Moritz you claimed the World Champion title in Super-G, can you describe your feelings on that day?
It was an amazing day, I think after the crash in Garmisch-Partenkirchen I came into St. Moritz with no pressure or expectations, especially in the super-g. It’s funny but I almost knew I was going to win before I even pushed out of the start gate, I just had that feeling.
How did becoming the “oldest” World Champion and sharing the podium with your teammate Manny Osborne-Paradis make the win even more special?
The “oldest” world champion title came as a complete surprise, I didn’t even know that was on the table. I think it’s in your head, so as long as you are fit and healthy and have the skills, nothing should stop you from winning, young or old. Having Manny on the podium was pretty sweet, we’ve only shared the podium one other time in Val d’isere and it makes for a very fun team celebration.
In what way was this win different from your downhill World Champion title in 2011?
Besides the track and the location I’d say they were quite similar. I had a lot of friends there to witness both race wins, I was feeling good physically and mentally before both and I was able to the put it all on the line when it counted.
But also your World Cup season was pretty rad, especially in downhill. Besides the two races in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (nasty crash in the first DH, DNS in the second one), you finished in the Top 6 at every single race and earned the 5th position in the season ranking. How do you explain this impressive consistency?
It was a great season and I’m proud of the consistency I displayed. It was part of my plan to establish myself back among the Top 5 in the world and despite missing the two races in Garmisch, I was able to do that. We had solid on snow prep last summer as well as a very good summer of dryland training. I just felt like I was where I needed to be to ski fast.
Does it also come from experience?
There is a certain amount of risk management if you want to stay healthy and be consistent but you also have to be ready to put it on the line when the time is right. It worked in St. Moritz but it was an epic fail in Garmisch 😉 Course knowledge through experience also plays a part, I think that’s why we often see established veterans win Kitzbuehel.
Which one is your favourite course?
I like all the tracks for different reasons but I think Kitz is the most epic.
With currently 25 World Cup podiums, you are the most successful Canadian World Cup skier, topping a list of legendary names like Nancy Greene, Steve Podborski and Ken Read. What does this mean to you?
It’s special to be among Canada’s elite skiers but to be honest it was never a goal of mine to break records in Canada, after all, we are competing against the world.
How do you see the future of Alpine Canada (with youngguns Ali Nullmeyer, James Crawford, Valérie Grenier and others coming up)?
I think we have some good young talents in Canada but we also have some gaps that will need to be filled very soon. I’m optimistic and hopeful but these youngguns will have to prove themselves on the World Cup shortly. I think good skiers are often a product of good coaching and I think we are starting to put some good coaches in place to have a bright future in Canada.
You have a complex injury history, with various back and knee problems that bothered you in the previous years. How are you feeling physically now?
I feel really great physically. Since my last surgery, with the help of my trainer and osteo, I was able to build myself back to be a better, stronger and more solid athlete. I feel better now than I have in the last ten years.
When you were sidelined for a complete season in 2015, how close where you to retire?
It’s never easy to deal with injuries and for me after so many injuries and with a family at home, I had to ask myself some tough questions. Can I commit? Do I want to ski? Can I put in the effort? The answer was yes.
What is the motivation to come back at every setback?
I just knew I had more in me, I know that when I’m not injured, I can compete with the best. So my motivation was to get to a place physically where pain was not preventing me from reaching the level I expect to be at.
You mentionned your family, you have not less thant three daughters and one more kid to come. You’re not only a successful professional athlete, you also have a pretty busy family life. Do you get to spend some quality time with them in summer? What’s the favourite common activity?
Skiing! I think skiing is one of the only sports that you can do with multi-generations and everyone has fun. My father is 77 years old and my youngest was two this winter and we had a great time skiing as a group.
How do you handle the distance when you are on the Tour?
It’s not always easy, I used to love travelling across the world to ski, now I feel I often can’t wait to get home to see the girls. But I know my days are numbered and before long I will be home full time, so for now, I’m putting in my biggest effort to keep the focus on my ski career.
Do your daughters realise what their dad is achieving or is it too early to enjoy this with them?
Haha, I think my oldest realizes some of my accomplishments, my five year old thinks everyone’s dad is an athlete and does what I do, and my 3 year just doesn’t care at all!!!
Shortly, if you had to name only one thing, what would be…
– the most memorable moment of your career? This year’s World Championships.
– the goal for next season? Kitz and that elusive Olympic medal.
– the specific race you would you like to add to your winning list? Kitz