"Mac and I get along very well. I have learned so much already.’
Canada’s multi-Paralympic and world champion Mac Marcoux will aim to continue his winning ways with new Para alpine skiing guide Tristan Rodgers.
Rodgers will replace Jack Leitch, who retired after guiding Marcoux to a gold and a bronze medal at the PyeongChang 2018 Paralympic Winter Games to pursue his business education at Royal Roads University.
Rodgers, a bilingual 19-year-old second-year mechanical engineering student at the University of Ottawa, skied for four seasons with the Mont Tremblant Ski Club and competed on the International Ski Federation (FIS) circuit, earning seven top-20 finishes last season.
Rodgers will take a break from his studies and plans to complete it in the future, as he could not pass up the golden opportunity.
“This is a great experience,’’ said Rodgers. "Mac and I get along very well and after this second training camp in Chile we just completed, I have learned so much already.’’
A new experience
Canadian Para alpine ski team head coach Jean-Sebastien Labrie and Mont Tremblant Ski Club head coach Jocelyn Huot introduced Rodgers to becoming a guide.
Rodgers said he is intrigued by the teamwork that will be required while reaching speeds in excess of 100 km/h in the downhill and negotiating the gates at full flight in the technical events.
"This is a whole new experience for me, and I like the fact that it takes away a lot of pressure on my own personal performance,” Rodgers said. “It’s now all about communicating and collaborating with Mac to make this work.’’
At the 2017 World Championships with Leitch, Marcoux won four of the five events (downhill, super-G, giant slalom and slalom) in the men’s vision impaired category.
Marcoux established himself as a promising talent when, at 16 years old, he and his guide at that time, Robin Femy, raced to a gold in the giant slalom and bronzes in both the downhill and super-G at the Sochi Paralympics.
Now a new era begins, and Marcoux is pleased to land a skier with Rodgers’ skill set.
“Tristan and I have gotten along great thus far,’’ Marcoux said. “He’s a very solid skier, incredibly fit and strong, and we’re building a lot of confidence which is key heading into the season.”
At 21, Marcoux has already collected two gold and three bronze medals at the last two Paralympic Games; and five gold and three silver at the last three World Championships.
The first World Cup race on the 2018-19 calendar for Marcoux and Rodgers is in Sella Nevea, Italy, on 17 December.