Hard work pays dividends for Red Mountain Racer Sasha Zaitsoff
By Bruce Fuhr
The Nelson Daily Sports
For Sasha Zaitsoff, it’s the walk in the park he enjoys the most during his stay in Calgary.
Of course that walk is not of friendly variety say down the sidewalk at Lakeside.
This walk . . . well, let’s just say it’s more than a walk.
This walk has this soon to be 21-year-old skier building core strength flipping tractor tires to power around those gates on the Men’s World Cup Ski Circuit.
After toiling the past few years on the Nor-Am circuit as a member of the National Prospect Team, the Red Mountain Racer star has his best shot ever at cracking one of the spots on the Canadian Men’s Team after being selected to the main squad.
“No one really knew what was going on with the team,” Zaitsoff told The Nelson Daily last month after hearing the good news from coach Paul Krisofic, head coach of the Men’s National squad, during a telephone call.
“I was just happy to that I was going to be on the team.”
As Zaitsoff knows first hand, nothing is guaranteed in the sport of skiing. Results do the talking.
But this is a major step being named to the National Team roster.
And who knows what can happen if the six-foot, 200-pound Zaitsoff puts together a few solid results.
“This is something I’ve been working toward for a long time,” Zaitsoff explained. “This is a big step for me.”
“I know have access to a lot more resources on the National team, that will only help me get better,” he adds. “Like there’s a physiotherapist that travels with the team everywhere and funding for training.”
Competing last season on the Prospect Team Zaitsoff turned heads of the Canadian coaching staff after scoring two, fourths in Super G at Whistler in March and Panorama near Invermere in December 2010.
Add in a fifth and sixth-place finish in slalom in Val St. Come, Que., in January along with a handful of sixth-place finishes during the season and it was only a matter of time before Krisofic came calling.
“(Skiing) is totally results based but anything is possible . . . and if you can imagine it, you can do it,” said the son of Peter and Elaine Zaitsoff of Balfour who has set Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics as a goal.
“The harder you work for something the nicer it is when you achieve it and the more you appreciate it,” he adds.
After taking a break after the 2010-11 season Zaitsoff joined his new teammates in Calgary for some extensive dry land training.
Zaitsoff experienced a taste of what’s to come in January during a slalom race in Adelboden, Switzerland.
However, the L.V. Rogers grad could not overcome the soft conditions and failed to qualify for the second run.
“I felt pretty confident (but) I wasn’t too nervous,” Zaitsoff said on the Alpine B.C. website. “It was really neat to race against all the people you watch on TV all the time.”
Zaitsoff expects to be winging his way to a summer camp, possible in Australia.
If things go according to plan, it will be Zaitsoff people will be watching on the wide-screen television.
And that will be no walk in the park. But it will be a lot of fun.