Open letter: Even in a red zone, skiing can be part of the solution

Ski organizations, coaches and professionals across Quebec want permission to begin training, as they feel public health measures can be easily implemented on ski hills. SOURCE: Jean-Baptiste Benavent

The following is an open letter to Quebec Premier Francois Legault, Minister of Health Christian Dube, director of public health Horacio Arruda and Minister of Education Jean-Francois Roberge:

Gentlemen, our sport is not the best known to the general public.

However, our children and adolescents who practice it share the same ideals as all young Quebec athletes, regardless of the sport they are passionate about. Their sport is not only a part of their life and a cornerstone of their mental health, but it is also an opportunity to prove themselves, to develop their self-confidence and even, for some, to dream of a chance of competing in the Olympic Games with stars in their eyes.

Our sport is competitive alpine skiing.

It is practiced outdoors in a large natural environment. It is an individual sport, without contact.

In downhill skiing, cross-country skiing or freestyle skiing, participants wear eye protection and gloves at all times. The neck warmer and/or face covering are already part of everyday life.

While resort skiing is permitted for the moment, ski racing, and even training, will be compromised in the coming winter.

Indeed, the rules currently in force in the red zones seem to be an obstacle to the pursuit of course training, even individually.

However, the young ski racing athlete practices on the same mountain as other skiers, in an outdoor environment, with the only difference being that he can receive advice from a trainer from a distance.

The application of the current rules, without slight adaptations that could be easily implemented, has consequences.

For most of our young athletes, this is an important physical activity and it is part of their mental health balance. For others who aspire to be part of the elite, it leaves them a season behind in their development.

Sanitary measures are easy to apply in our sport. Wearing the mask is not a constraint, since we almost always wear a neck warmer covering the face to the glasses.

In our ski clubs, athletes usually practice in small training groups in which the minimum two-metre distance is very easy to impose and maintain at all times between the participants.

All of our activities take place outdoors and no contact between coaches and athletes is allowed indoors. Outside, coaches can interact with athletes while maintaining two-metre distance. Even our youngest athletes are autonomous, there is no equipment sharing and they obey the rules that apply to all other skiers.

We operate in a discipline where security risks must be managed and strict protocols must be applied.

Our team of coaches is trained over and over to follow a protocol that includes measures allowing our young people to practice sport in complete safety.

Our organization is able to implement health measures because the application of such safety protocols is already part of the culture of an organization like ours.

It is recognized by all specialists that organized sport is beneficial to the well-being of our children and adolescents.

These young people need to occupy their days and it is becoming increasingly difficult for parents to prohibit any activity other than school.

An organized activity such as skiing is an effective and safe tool to reduce their isolation and maintain their physical, mental and emotional health.

Our expertise, the nature of our sport, and the unique environment in which we practice lead us to want to offer our help and our expertise to improve the well-being of our young athletes.

In collaboration with the health authorities, we ask to be part of the solution to allow our sport, an individual and non-contact outdoor sport, to be identified as a priority organized sport to be restarted now and thus to help preserve overall health. of our children and adolescents.

We ask you to believe in the seriousness and the credibility of our approach and hope to receive a favourable response quickly in order to collaborate in putting in place a safe framework for the continuation of ski training this winter.

Signatories:

  • Erik Guay, twice world champion in alpine skiing;
  • Jean-Luc Brassard, Olympic champion and two-time world champion in mogul skiing;
  • Justine Dufour-Lapointe, Olympic champion in freestyle skiing;
  • Chloé Dufour-Lapointe, Olympic freestyle ski medalist
  • Maxime Dufour-Lapointe, Olympian in freestyle skiing François Bourque, Olympian in alpine skiing
  • Julien Cousineau, Olympian in alpine skiing
  • Valérie Grenier, Olympian in alpine skiing
  • Jean-Philippe Roy, Olympian in alpine skiing and NCO U16 coach
  • Laurence St-Germain, Olympian in alpine skiing
  • Simon Fournier, national alpine ski team athlete
  • Bernard Trottier, athletics philanthropist
  • Isabelle Reid, President of the Mont Tremblant Ski Club Louis Dononue, President of the Orford Ski Club
  • Stéphane Rivard, President of the Owl’s Head Ski Club
  • Carl Goyette, President of the Bromont Ski Club
  • Martin Durocher, head coach of the Sutton Ski Club
  • Ryan Malmberg, head coach of Club Mont Sainte-Marie
  • Jocelyn Huot, head coach of the Mont Tremblant Ski Club
  • Francis Royal, Head Coach of Ski Québec Alpin
  • Mathieu Lauzon, head coach of Sommets Saint-Sauveur
  • Nicolas Belzile, Head Coach of the Stoneham Ski Club
  • Michel Huot, head coach of the Université de Montréal Carabins
  • Derek Podorieszach, head coach of the Mont Sainte-Anne Ski Club
  • Marie Couture, coach of the Mont Sainte-Anne Ski Club
  • Sven Pouliot, head coach of the Laval University Rouge et Or
  • Brigitte Trottier, owner of Ski Town
  • Marie-Pier Jourdain, head coach of the Belle Neige Ski Club
  • Stéphanie P. Simard, head coach of the Orford Ski Club
  • Cedomir Tanackovic, Head Coach of the Owl's Head Ski Club
  • Sunny Verreault, head coach of Club Le Relais
  • Benoît Allard, head coach of the Mont Garceau Ski Club
  • Frédérick Pigeon, head coach of the Val St-Côme Ski Club 

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