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Canada's skiers try to focus on upcoming World Cup season before Sochi Games

05/07/2013 12:51 EDT | Updated 07/07/2013 05:12 EDT
SUNSHINE VILLAGE, Alta. - With the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia just 10 months away, members of Canada's alpine ski team are trying not to look past the next World Cup season.

That's not going to be easy says Ben Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., who along with his teammates is taking part in a intensive round of spring training at Sunshine Village in Banff National Park.

"We've been looking at Sochi for the last two years now. It's not something where you get to the season and all of a sudden say 'Whoa, this is the Olympic season,'" Thomsen said.

"It's something we've been working on for years and years and it's not that we're changing anything — the intensity is just slowly getting ramped up to the games."

Thomsen has reason for optimism. He was second at a race held last season on Sochi's 2014 Olympic course for his first World Cup medal.

His teammates also have good reason to focus on the next World Cup season, which begins this fall. Get off to a good start on the World Cup circuit and the theory is good fortune will follow you when you compete in Sochi.

"It's always the season that's on my mind. There's a whole World Cup circuit besides the Olympics and my focus here is on the first race in Lake Louise, after that I sort of move on to the next race and sort of gear up heading into the Olympics," said Erik Guay of Mont Tremblant, Que., last year's World Cup champion.

"As always I try and progress as I move toward the Olympics so I have that confidence to be in there."

Vancouver's Manuel Osborne-Paradis said you can't expect to have a poor season and then expect to be able to turn it on going into the Olympics.

"Trying to figure out how to peak at the Olympics isn't necessary right now because we need to get back on the podiums and be driving the force through all the way to Sochi," Osborne-Paradis said.

Erin Mielzynski of Guelph, Ont., who won her first World Cup race in March 2012 in slalom and finished with a bronze in the last race of the season, said the season is equally as important as the Winter Games.

Setting an Olympic goal isn't something she is willing to do.

"I want to put together the two best runs of my life and so that's how far I'm looking ahead, so that I'm good enough in the season approaching Sochi," she said.

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