CALGARY - Alpine Canada unveiled plans for its new-look coaching staff Friday as it prepares for next season and the 2014 Sochi Winter Games.
Massimo (Max) Carca, who helped lead the Italian ski team to multiple World Cup, world championship and Olympic titles, has been named head coach of the Canadian men's alpine technical team. The 40-year-old Italian will focus on Canada's slalom and giant slalom teams.
Former Swiss coach Martin Rufener — who was recently named Alpine Canada's new alpine director — will also take on the role of head coach of the men's team.
"Max is a coach who has had great success across all five disciplines and we're very excited that he has agreed to join us," said Paul Kristofic, Alpine Canada's vice-president of sports. "He's worked with athletes who have won World Cups, world championships and medals at the Olympic Games. With Martin also coming on board, we believe we have a very strong leadership team in place. We are nine months away from the Olympics and there’s reason to be optimistic and excited.
"We are also at a critical point in terms of needing to invest in development-level athletes. Historically, it takes five years in the national team system to develop racers who have the potential to podium at the World Cup level and it’s now time to start planning for 2018 and 2022."
Carca has spent over a decade coaching top skiers like Christof Innerhofer, Dominik Paris, Manfred Moelgg, Peter Fill and Giuliano Razzoli. Carca began working with the Italian Ski Federation in 2002, became head coach of the World Cup slalom team in 2008 and has served as head coach of Italy’s World Cup speed and giant slalom teams since 2011.
His new role is due to start May 1. Carca will work closely with slalom veterans including Mike Janyk, Julien Cousineau and Brad Spence as well as some of the younger Canadian skiers.
"I'm very excited for this new challenge because Canada is a nation in which alpine skiing is a tradition and I have a lot of respect for the (coaching) staff," Carca said in a release. "The priority for the team is to improve performances in slalom and giant slalom and the objective for next year is to (win) podiums in World Cup."
Working alongside Carca will be Paolo De Florian, who will help coach the men's slalom team. The new development team will be led by former men’s technical head coach Kip Harrington, who will coach the men's prospects. Pete Rybarik will coach the women's prospects.
Pete Bosinger, formerly head coach of the men's team, will now serve as Alpine Canada's director of events. Hugues Ansermoz will continue to serve as head coach of the women's alpine team while Jim Pollock remains technical head coach of the women's team.
"We have a lot of challenges ahead of us but we have a strong team in place to help us close our performance gaps," Kristofic said. "We had a challenging season last year but we have a number of athletes who are close to achieving consistent podium results.
"We're not far away and we're not going to leave anything to chance as we head into a critical season."
The 2013-14 Canadian Alpine Ski Team and the 2013-14 national development team are due to be named next month. Canada’s team for the 2014 Sochi OIympic Winter Games will be announced in January 2014.
Additional development team plans will be unveiled next month, Alpine Canada said.