Black Jack Skier Remi Drolet and his cross-country ski coach David Wood have joined one of the most prestigious athletic clubs in Canada.
Drolet, 17, was one of 55 young Canadian athletes from both summer and winter sports selected by Petro-Canada and the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) to receive Fuelling Athletes and Coaching Excellence (FACE) Program grant. These athletes and their coaches are awarded a $10,000 FACE grant to help them with their journey. FACE grants are often used for training, equipment and travel expenses.
Past recipients include Olympic and Paralympic medallists Patrick Chan, Hayley Wickenheiser, Rosie MacLennan, Mark Tewksbury, Kaitlyn Lawes, Marielle Thompson Mac Marcoux (GOLD, Para alpine skiing) and Nicholas Gill.
Last month the Black Jack skier, who is in his first year with the senior national team, won the open men’s 11-kilometre race at the Clearwater Challenge hill race in Nelson.
Wood, a former coach of the National Ski Team, has coached Drolet since he was 11 years old when he first joined the Black Jack ski club in Rossland.
His progress has been swift as the young skier moved up the ranks to become the top young skier in the country with two gold and two silver at the Haywood National Cross-Country Ski Championship in Whitehorse, where he also won the prestigious Sofie Manarin Award as the year’s top Canadian juvenile skier.
As a 16-year-old, Drolet raced to a first-place finish in the 10-km Classic in a field of over 150 U20 skiers at the 2017 U.S. Cross-Country Ski Championships in Soldier Hollow, Utah, and competed in the 2017 Junior World Championships at Soldier Hollow, finishing 49th in the the men’s 20-km skiathlon.
“I’ve had 17-year-olds, but not anyone as young as Remi,” said Wood after winning at last year’s U.S. championship. “I guess he just has all the right things. His physiology is good, he skis well enough, he’s coachable, he’s smart, but I think the main thing is he’s very coachable. He listens and he tries his best to work with himself and not against himself.”
More recently, Drolet also finished first in the Jr. Men’s 15-k Mass start and second in the individual sprint at the Haywood NorAm Westerns in Red Deer in January.
The FACE Program supports up-and-coming athletes when they need it most: when they are striving to represent Canada at the Olympic or Paralympic Games, but don’t yet qualify for government funding. Recipients are selected based on potential. The funding is courtesy of Petro Canada.
Since 1988, FACE grants have supported more than 3,000 athletes and coaches by providing more than $11,000,000 in financial support.
Recent FACE grant recipients participating at the recent 2018 Winter Olympic Games include Kim McRae (Luge), Cendrine Browne (Cross-Country Ski), Mirela Rahneva (Skeleton), Gabrielle Daleman (Figure Skating), Mélodie Daoust (Women’s Hockey) and Chris Spring (Bobsleigh).
In addition to providing financial support, FACE athletes and coaches are invited to an annual summit to learn from Olympians and Paralympians, and receive advice on media training, public speaking, and personal-brand development.