Slalom specialist Laurence St-Germain continues to climb the ranks

Year-over-year the Canadian skier from Mont-Sainte-Anne increases her overall ranking

Laurence St-Germain
Laurence St-Germain finished fourth place in Jasna, Slovakia, during the 2021 season (GEPA/Alpine Canada)

Alpine Canada’s Laurence St-Germain is poised to build on the success of her 2020/21 season.

Heading into the start of the new World Cup year, St-Germain is the ninth ranked slalom skier on the FIS World Cup start list. Overall, she is ranked at 31, her highest to date.

Coming into the last year she was ranked 48th overall but after a terrific schedule, the 27-year-old finished 11th in her last three slalom races in the spring.

“I have high expectations because last year I improved a lot,” said St-Germain, on a video call with the Toronto Observer. “Obviously (this is an) important year, but I’m pretty excited with what is coming and I think I can do good things.”

An important year indeed, the Olympics are only around 100 days away and the Saint-Ferréol-les-Neiges, Que., native has a history of putting her best foot forward on international sport’s biggest stage.

In 2018 at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics, St-Germain surprised some by finishing ninth in the mixed alpine team event and 15 in the women’s slalom.

“Fifteenth was a really big result for me,” said St-Germain “I was ranked 30th when I came into the Olympics.”

There is some pandemic related apprehension around the upcoming Olympic Games, though, for skiing, the anxiety differs from the norm. Unlike in previous years the athletes have not been able to ski Xiaohaituo Mountain, venue for the 2022 Beijing alpine skiing events.

“Literally no one has skied the hill,” said St-Germain. “I heard it’s pretty steep but I haven’t seen it.”  

For the 2016 first team All-American, location is less important so long as she can complete her turns.

“Skiing is skiing, I train giant slalom, but only race slalom,” said St-Germain. “Venues (vary) in slalom I think that’s why you often see younger girls being really good.”

The seasonality of winter sports means athletes can’t train on snow at any time of the year. The team goes to Europe during the late summer/early fall to train before the season begins in late October.

Working out and eating right is important but inferior to getting in a proper carve.

“It’s pretty hard to replicate a ski turn,” said St-Germain. “With skiing you need the motion, you need the forces, you need the hill … you want to take advantage of the 1,000 turns we get a day which is miniscule compared to a golfer.”

St-Germain has returned from training in Europe and was able to get on snow in the form of an indoor ski hill that featured a 23 second long Slalom course. Throughout the warm months at home, the Québec native mountain bikes, in part to imitate a ski turn.

“Just the aspect of anticipating the terrain and doing berms is pretty much the same technique as skiing,” said St-Germain. “Just learning how to learn and knowing your body is so good for skiing.”

St-Germain heads for Europe soon in preparation for the World Cup circuit. Her first slalom race is at Levi, Finland, on Nov. 21 and 22.

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Posted: Oct 8 2021 7:57 pm
Filed under: Features Sports Winter Games