Photo Credit: André Chevrier/Canadian Freestyle Ski Association

(ISN) – Vancouver, BC – With the help and support of the Canadian Olympic Committee and Own The Podium, the Canadian Freestyle Ski Association (CFSA) has been able to organize a familiarization trip to South Korea.

The trip is part of the four-year strategy instituted by the CFSA ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeonchang.

” We did something similar prior to Sochi and planned five trips between September 2010 and October 2013,” said David Mirota, High Performance Director. “These trips helped us shape our roles and approach to the 2014 Winter Games, which ultimately set us up with an optimal performance mindset.”

For this trip, slopestyle and halfpipe athletes who have not been to the Olympic Games and have demonstrated podium potential were targeted.

Three slopestyle athletes (Evan McEachran, Nikki Blackall, Anouk Purnelle-Faniel) and three halfpipe athletes (Simon d’Artois, Cassie Sharpe, Megan Gunning) will be visiting South Korea between February 14-19 with coaches and staff.

“Most of our athletes and coaches have never been to South Korea and some never to Asia,” added Mirota. “This trip provides an opportunity to get a real feel and understanding of the landscape and culture, without the pressure of having to compete and perform. Banking these experiences early in the Olympic cycle will provide that extra confidence for the team when we go back to Pyeongchang to compete at the World Cup test event and at the Olympic Games.”

In addition, members of the World Cup mogul team will be visiting the 2018 Host City between February 19-23, prior to their World Cup competition in Japan on February 28 and March 1.

“This is really a great opportunity for us as a team to familiarize ourselves with what the city could be like in 2018,” said Mikaël Kingsbury. “We’re going to ski on the mountains, explore the cities and learn about a new culture. Being a part of a similar trip before Sochi really helped me prep for the Olympic Games.”

Among the trip objectives will be to get an understanding of the freestyle skiing venue location and for the athletes to get use to a new environment.

“It’s going to be a fun trip going over there and getting use to a new city,” said Philippe Marquis. “I’m interested to see what the moutains are like there, what the food is like and learn about the culture. I think this will help us drastically prepared mentally for the Olympic Games. I really believe Korea will be a special place to visit.”

Halfpipe Skiers Attending
Men –Simon d’Artois (Whistler, BC)
Women – Keltie Hansen (Edmonton, AB), Cassie Sharpe (Comox, BC)

Mogul Skiers Attending
Men – Mikaël Kingsbury (Deux-Montagnes, QC) Philippe Marquis (Quebec City, QC), Marc-Antoine Gagnon (Terrebonne, QC), Simon Pouliot-Cavanagh (Quebec City, QC)
Women – Justine Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Maxime Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Chloé Dufour-Lapointe (Montreal, QC), Andi Naude (Penticton, BC), Audrey Robichaud (Quebec City, QC)

Slopestyle Skiers Attending
Men – Evan McEachran (Oakville, ON)
Women – Anouk Purnell-Faniel (Quebec City, QC), Nikki Blackall (Barrie, ON)