October 16, 2019
Two leaders who bring a lifetime of innovation and excellence to benefit Canadian athletes
Her family emigrated from Germany, while his pathway originated in Great Britain via Australia, yet it has been Canada, and Canadian ski racing, that has been the enormous beneficiary of three decades of dedicated passion, excellence and tireless effort from our 2019 Honoured Builders, Sigrid and Mark Sharp.
Sigrid skied on snow, while Mark started out as a grass-skier. Both were drawn to teaching and coaching, and in Panorama in 1988, their careers converged – Sigrid with the Windemere Ski Club and Mark with Team Panorama. From there, they joined the Banff Mountain Academy and the Avalanche Ski Club. Mark was offered coaching positions first with the Alberta Ski Team (2 years) and then moved to Alpine Canada starting with the Canadian Development Team in 1997 and working up to the World Cup with a crowning achievement of a bronze medal performance from Allison Forsyth in the 2003 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships. While Mark was focused at the elite level, Sigrid was recruited to lead Team Panorama as Program Director, a club that had seen great success in building athletes but was seeking an enthusiastic leader to revitalize the program.
It was the next chapter in this coaching partnership that lifted Canadian ski racing to new heights. Sigrid poured her passion into building Team Panorama, which has become one of Canada’s largest ski clubs, with her enthusiastic leadership, innovative events, careful recruiting of coaches and positive guidance of Ski Club parents. Mark moved to the position of Director, Domestic Development and transformed the Canadian athlete pathway through the Aim-2-Win Long-Term Athlete Development Model and the “Rising Stars” camps. Almost every athlete on the current Canadian Alpine Ski Team participated in a Rising Stars camp, a Whistler Cup Team or a World Junior Championship Team under Mark’s leadership.
Since 2010, Sigrid and Mark have been working as partners at Team Panorama, while continuing to provide leadership within the Canadian Ski Coaching Federation, contributing to ongoing projects with Alpine Canada and Alberta Alpine, all while also guiding their three boys – Keegan, Jedd and Trigg – through all levels of the Canadian alpine ski racing pathway.
And it doesn’t stop there, “Mark is a talented artist and for over twenty years has donated the proceeds of original works of art and limited-edition prints to organizations at every level,” said Dave Greig, a parent member of Team Panorama. “His generosity has generated well over $200,000 and counting – all to help our ski racing programs find the critical resources to help Canadian athletes realize their dreams and aim to represent Canada.”
With over 30 years of coaching, Sigrid and Mark have worked directly with hundreds of athletes and parents. But their coaching methods, energy and passion have impacted the entire country. “Always reflect on this sport as a journey of overall development for our kids,” says Mark, “And whatever point they decide to change paths they will never lose what they gained from alpine ski racing”. Sigrid shared, “Cherish your time as a ski racer. You will have the privilege of spending a lot of time with your family and friends for many years while you focus on your sport.”
Like the coaches they are, Sigrid and Mark have advice to guide all athletes:
- You must have ski racing heroes. Pretend to be them when you ski
- Watch, understand and be interested in World Cup ski racing
- Always be fit and strong
- Tune your skis every day
- Play many sports as you grow up
- Be a strong free skier
- Never waste a training run.
- Have a plan for school after ski racing.
“Ski racing became the vehicle for me to affect many people’s lives in such positive ways,” says Sigrid, “To be able to live and work with people in a life-long sport is a gift.”
Join us to help show our gratitude and appreciation for the tremendous influence of Sigrid and Mark Sharp as we induct them as our Honoured Builders into the Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame.
The 2019 Class will be inducted at the Highest Peak Gala, hosted at the Markin-McPhail Centre at WinSport in Calgary on Wednesday, October 30th. This event was first held in 1968, to support ski racing excellence in Alberta and western Canada. The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame event is a legacy event with the goal to support future champions in the province, with all proceeds invested into Alberta Ski Racing programs.
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