A season of triumphs and tribulations for a budding star

 | May 2, 2013


Elli Terwiel’s 2012-13 season of racing on the FIS World Cup and Nor-Am circuits could be described as a breakout season, although she’d describe it as a year of learning.

After a successful 2011-12 in which she topped the Nor-Am slalom rankings and guaranteed her slalom spot on the World Cup circuit, Terwiel said her strategy for the 2012-13 season was based on attacking.

“This season my goal was to approach each race as if I had nothing to lose,” explained Terwiel. “It’s not worth skiing World Cup unless you’re making top 30 . . . there was nothing I could do but think about attacking harder than every other girl out there in order to beat them.”

And the strategy appeared to pay off, with Terwiel recording some impressive results — four top 30 finishes in the FIS World Cup slalom. She finished 23rd in Semmering, Austria, and recorded her best result in Flachau, Austria finishing 17th. She went on to post the second fastest run in the slalom in Maribor, Slovenia and finished 17th again. At the World Championships in Schladming, Austria, she finished 28th.

Four Canadian ladies finished in the top 30 in Semmering, and Terwiel said it was a big boost for the team.

“We knew we had a great team and it was amazing to all perform moderately well at the same race. It was a confirmation of our abilities,” she said.

Canadian ladies ski team head coach Hugues Ansermoz described Terwiel’s Maribor slalom result with a “wow” saying it was “great to see.” Her top 30 result at the World Championships was one of her “many” highlights and an indication that she belongs in the starting gate at the World Cup slalom level.

Of this result and her significant improvement, she put it down to time on snow — training on glaciers over summer — and more racing experience.
“I’m maturing as an athlete and more able to fine-tune my skiing as my technique gets stronger every year,” said Terwiel.

While she said she was “happy” with her World Cup skiing and “fairly happy” with her Nor-Am racing, Terwiel didn’t finish and crashed out of some races. She said there are lots of improvements to make to take her skiing to the next level.

“My skiing is definitely still a work in progress,” Terwiel admitted.

“(This year) I learned about how hard you need to push yourself for those few less milliseconds. I learned the difference between success and failure can be as shallow as one hundredth of a second. At that small margin there’s no room for mistakes.”

Terwiel said that over the off-season she’ll be working on her agility and fine motor skills to refine her technique. As for next season Terwiel is focusing on the big one — the 2014 Winter Olympics.

“My focus right now is on Sochi. I would love to go! So I’m hoping to improve my results in World Cup to top 15. Beyond that I’m always re-evaluating my goals and trying to make the best plan possible.”