Jan 21, 2015
Source: Matt Tidcombe / Photo credit Jean-Baptiste Benavent
Laurence Vallerand’s 2013 Winter Universiade did not go as she envisioned.
The Canadian alpine skier injured herself on the third training day in Trentino, Italy, when she fell during giant slalom, ruling herself out for not just the Universiade, but also the rest of the season.
“I had a really bad sprain in my left ankle but there were also complications in my heel bone,” Vallerand said. “It got misplaced and there were little micro injuries within that sprain.
“I didn’t get to ski at all last season. I only got back on skis in November but so far it’s going well.”
Despite missing nearly a year of action, Vallerand is part of Canada’s team for the 2015 Winter Universiade, where she will compete in slalom and giant slalom.
“I think I’m progressing very well considering my injury and I’m super excited for the races,” she said.
Vallerand, who is from Montreal, attends Laval University and is part of the school’s ski team. She won the overall and the rookie of the year awards in her first year on the university circuit, while winning seven races that same season (2012).
But her ski resume boasts more than an impressive school record.
She’s also finished in the top 10 three times at the Senior National Championships and has won 13 FIS races in her career.
She was a member of the Quebec provincial ski team and in 2011 she was named to Canada’s prospect training group, where she moved to Calgary, Alberta, for seven months to train.
However, Vallerand admits her ski career wasn’t going as far as had hoped so she decided to attend university, where she is studying public affairs and international relations, a mix of law, economics and political science.
“I’m racing as much as I can and pursuing my degree,” Vallerand said. “After I’m done my degree I’m going to go into the work world. I’m for sure going to still ski but not as competitive.”
Although things may not have gone entirely to plan for Vallerand, the opportunity to pull on the Canadian maple leaf is something that she considers to be a great honor.
“Considering I was pursuing a ski racing career just a couple of years ago my dream has always been to attend the Olympics which never happened.
“I feel like these competitions are another opportunity for me so I’m really proud to be representing our country.”
The 22-year-old admits she doesn’t know much about the hill at the Estadio de Esquí Alpin Fuente del Tesoro but she’ll get her bearings set when she reaches the course.
“When you get to the hill, I just see what it’s like,” she said. “We’re going to get to train a little bit before the race. I’ll just get there, see how the run looks, visualize it, consider the conditions and adapt to the run.”
She says she hasn’t set specific goals but admits a top 20 in slalom and a top 30 in giant slalom would be very satisfying.
Vallerand’s thought process when she skis has led to her success in the past and will undoubtedly make her a threat at the Universiade.
“My mindset when I ski race is not to set expectations that are really high because I perform best when I’m not under pressure, having fun and trusting my technique and attacking the course like I know I can.”