Dec 1, 2006 | Marmot, Winter 2006

The Return of a Champion: Allison Forsyth Looks Ahead to 2010

Allison Forsyth’s dream of competing in the Torino Olympics in Italy last February came crashing down during a training run for the women’s downhill. But that doesn’t stop a true champion...

It would have been the second Winter Olympic competition for the Canadian athlete, who learned to ski at Mount Washington Alpine Resort when she was a child. However, she tore the ACL ligament in her left knee and faced major reconstructive surgery instead of a medal podium.

Nine months later, recovery has been a rollercoaster for Forsyth, who has been a member of Team Canada’s Alpine Ski Team for 12 years. “It’s been an up and down process,” Forsyth said during a telephone interview from her home near Calgary. “I had to go in for another scope four weeks ago … but I’m back on snow now. “I hope to be ready for the first World Cup in Canada (at Lake Louise the first weekend in December).”

Forsyth’s positive attitude has carried her through her recovery so far. She says her knee injury will change the way she skis – for now. “With the kind of injury I have, it’s an 18-month recovery process. It’s only been about eight and a half months now. I have another 10 months before it’s completely healed.”

She has had to switch her training to quality, not quantity, so she doesn’t strain her knee. “When I no longer have pain … it will be all right to ski fast and ski hard.”

Forsyth has been skiing since she was two years old and her family would go up to Mount Washington. She has an older brother and sister who also skied – her brother, Ryan, is a former member of the Men’s Canadian National Team. “It was great,” Forsyth says of those early days. “I love coming from Mount Washington. It was a small hill and very family-orientated. “From a very young age, my parents felt comfortable letting me go off and ski with my friends. the Village had such a nice atmosphere,” she said.

Forsyth raced and trained at Mount Washington until she was 15, when Whistler became her home base. She liked the fact she could get in a lot of runs in one day at Mount Washington. “The runs were just long enough to get in a downhill skiing run, then you could go back for more. I’m really proud to come from there.”

Forsyth will spend the next four years concentrating on the upcoming Winter Olympics, the 2010 Vancouver-Whistler Games. She received a boost in October when she was named one of 19 high-performance Canadian athletes from B.C. who will receive funding from RONA’s Growing With Our Athletes program to help them concentrate on their sporting careers.

The athletes will each receive a guaranteed minimum of $40,000 in financial support from RONA to help offset living, training and competition expenses. “It’s a good sponsorship for me,” said Forsyth. “It pays me a fixed amount of money per year every year until the next Olympics. It’s not a ton of money, but with that and other sponsorships I have I’m OK to just focus on my skiing and I don’t have to have another job.”

While Forsyth will likely not do any alpine training at Mount Washington in the lead-up to the 2010 Olympics, she is excited nonetheless about the Resort’s plans to create a Nordic Training Centre to attract international teams prior to the Games.

“I would definitely endorse something like that,” she said. “(The Resort) has some of the best Nordic tracks in North America.”

She doesn’t think access to the Resort will be a hindrance to luring national cross-country ski teams to the new centre. “It’s only separated by a body of water,” she said. “And with Air Canada flights and now WestJet, travel isn’t going to be (a problem). “It should really help out to have a lot of teams there,” she said. “I think it’s a great idea.”

It has recently been announce that Allison is taking a year off but will be back to train for 2010. All of the skiers of Mount Washington wish you well Allison!

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