ABOUT THE ONTARIO PARA ALPINE SKI TEAM (OPAST)
The Ontario Para-Alpine Ski Team’s goal is to Educate, Promote and Train Para ski racing in Ontario, Canada. As members of AOA these athletes train and compete together to promote para-alpine ski racing locally, provincially, nationally & internationally. The team participates in a weekly fitness training tracking program and in a spring and fall testing program at the CSIO Toronto (Canadian Sports Institute of Ontario – Toronto) Personalized, incremental strength and conditioning programs will continue throughout the fall months until the athletes return to snow in November.
For the 2019/20 season the OPAST team will be merged with a U19/FIS team, and will come together for para specific training camps at Panorama/BC, Tremblant/QC and Kimberley/BC. Athletes will go to races appropriate to their own pathway, racing throughout North America.
The OPAST has a long legacy of moving athletes to the Canadian stage including Sarah Gillies and Brian Rowland for the 2019/20 season.
2019/20 CANADIAN PARA ALPINE SKI TEAM
Congratulations to Sarah and Brian on their outstanding achievement to represent Canada after training with the OPAST for many years.
NextGEN Canadian Alpine Ski Team
Sarah Gillies joins the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team’s NextGen group for the 2019-20 season after notching podium performances at the 2019 Canadian and U.S. national championships in Winter Park, Colorado, in March. Born with fibular hemimelia, Sarah became a lower right leg amputee at the age of seven months. A multisport athlete, Sarah has demonstrated her athleticism in para-alpine ski racing, capturing Canada Games medals to go along with her national championship podiums. Learn more here>
Calabogie Ski Club
NextGEN Canadian Alpine Ski Team
A silver-medallist in the giant slalom at the 2019 Canada Winter Games, Brian Rowland joins the Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team for the 2019-20 season as the latest NextGen addition. As a result of an injury sustained in a motorcycle accident in 2015, Brian competes in the men’s sitting category.
2019-20 ONTARIO PARA ALPINE SKI TEAM (OPAST)
Camp Fortune Ski Club
This is Alex’s 5th year on the team. She is from Ottawa and before joining the Para Ontario Team Alex was in a Learn-to-race program at Edelweiss as part of the Canadian Association for Disabled Skiers. Once she joined the Ontario team she moved to the U16 Camp Fortune Ski Club program. Alex is currently training with the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park Colorado.
Craigleith Ski Club
Abbey started skiing when she was 8 years old. She was born with PFFD and Fibular Hemimelia which resulted in a knee leg amputee and prosthetic at the age of 3. On the hill Abbey does not wear her prosthetic and skis with one leg. Abbey competed at the 2019 Canada Winter Games and finished 4th in GS and won bronze in SL. She also competed at US and Canadian Para Nationals in Colorado with several top ten finishes.
Craigleith Ski Club
Ben was born with cerebral palsy and began skiing at Sir Sam’s near Haliburton, Ont. at the age of five. He joined the OPAST Devo program at 13, before moving to the OPAST at 16. Ben competed in the 2019 Canada Winter Games where he took home bronze in both GS and SL. He also competed in the 2019 Canadian and USA nationals hitting the top 10 in four races. Ben has been identified as a Prospect candidate with Alpine Canada Alpin.
Osler Bluff Ski Club
This is Michaela’s 1st year on the team. Michaela grew up skiing at Osler Bluff Ski Club. She raced able-body OCUP until the end of U16 before obtaining her EL and DL coaching levels and coaching for two seasons at Osler Bluff . Michaela joined the para community at 18 after she was diagnosed with cancer, which resulted in a scapulectomy of her left shoulder. She is eager to get back into racing, and pursue ski racing at a higher level.
Mount Ste Louis Moonstone
Rebecca lost her leg in a boating accident at the age of 4 which classified her as a LW2 skier. She began skiing at age 8 years. Rebecca has competed in the Ontario Winter Games, Canada Winter Games, and US/ Canadian Nationals since she started racing in 2017. She won silver in SL at the 2019 Canada Winter Games. Rebecca was also the 2019 AOA Para Athlete of the Year.
2019-20 OPAST COACHING STAFF
OPAST Program Director/Coach
Gwen is a Para Trained Level 3 coach as well as an EL certified alpine coach, who has coached the Provincial Para Team for the past decade, with several provincial athletes progressing to the National Team and the Paralympic Podium in 2010, 2014, and 2018.
Gwen’s background in Kinesiology and Inclusive Recreation at U of Waterloo, together with racing para at NorAm level until 2009, have equipped Gwen with the experience and passion to develop the para program throughout Ontario. As President of Canadian Adaptive SnowSports (CADS) Ontario, and as a Ontario Track 3 instructor, Gwen has been able to reach out throughout the province to identify potential para racers. The introduction of the Learn To Race Para program in 2007, has come to fruition, with 3-5, of the racers now identified by ACA, and looking to make it to the Paralympics in 2022.
Gwen manages the LTAD for our athletes, and will be spending more time on Talent ID and Developing athletes, as Sandy Nattress takes over as the High Performance Head Coach. Please contact Gwen at [email protected]
High Performance OPAST Head Coach
Sandy is a Performance Level (PL) Certified Coach and a Coach evaluator, Learning Facilitator, as well as a trained NCCP Master Coach Developer, and a FIS level 3 official. He most recently earned his CADS level2 certification.
Sandy grew up ski racing at Horseshoe Valley outside of Barrie and has coached and taught skiing all over the country from U12 to Masters. Sandy has also managed and developed programs at Craigleith, Devils Glen and Kelly Vanderbeek Racing and continues to coach, and to mentor coaches. Please contact Sandy at [email protected]
OPAST Strength & Conditioning Coach
Aly has been a Physiotherapist Assistant and Personal Trainer at Neurocore Physiotherapy in Richmond Hill for over 9 years. Her focus is on adaptive sport and fitness and is an advocate for athlete inclusion in sport and fitness worldwide. She is a certified Movement & Mobility Coach, Adaptive Crossfit Coach as well as a Certified KinesioTape Practitioner. Please contact Aly at [email protected]