Louise Knight: Honoured Alberta Ski Team Alumni
A Canadian Champion and World Cup athlete, who now brings her passion for ski racing to the next generation
Her record is one of accomplishment. Louise Knight, our Honoured Ski Team alumni, scored her first national title cheered on by her family. That gold in the Canadian Juvenile Championships launched a career that added medal performances at the Canadian Juniors and Seniors, the Pontiac Cup and capturing the overall title in the Alberta Cup. These solid credentials earned her a spot as a member of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, where she raced on the Europa Cup and World Cup Tours.
Like many talented athletes in alpine skiing, Louise’s results earned an NCAA ski scholarship, allowing her to compete in NCAA skiing for New Mexico, before completing her Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy from the University of Alberta.
Louise says she didn’t come from a ski family, but once she was introduced to skiing and ski racing, she was hooked. “I started skiing at the age of 6 with my Dad and older brother, Terry,” said our Honoured Inductee. “At the age of 8, I was invited to race in the final Nancy Green ski race of the season at Marmot Basin. I had never ski raced before and was ecstatic to be on the winning Jasper team! From that moment on, I knew I wanted to be a ski racer.”
That passion translated quickly into a dedicated work ethic. “I dreamed of being an Olympian,” said Louise. “I was talented, determined, and confident and truly loved everything about skiing and ski racing; training gates, doing drills, powder skiing, mogul skiing, spring skiing…”
After university and establishing a career, it was her young family that brought Louise back to ski racing. “Although ski racing was my passion, I did not push my children to become ski racers. Admittedly, I was quite relieved when my oldest son, Jesse, wanted to join the Nancy Green Ski League in Grade 3. This started a whole new chapter for our family, which I never thought would lead to another go around with the Jasper Ski Team!’
Like so many parents, Louise found a way to give more. “My motivation to Coach came from both of my children, who found that racing was simply not as fun, or as rewarding as “the park” or free skiing. They were frustrated with their results, and like many kids, they found Provincial races far too stressful and competitive. It became my mission to make Jasper a more competitive, informed, fun-filled club. I drew on my past experiences and challenges as a ski racer and mentored under Gilbert Wall and Brent Shleppe to help re-shape the Jasper Ski Team to what it is today.”
And she shares a pivotal moment in her coaching career. “If it wasn’t for Jesse’s 10th place ribbon at the JJO’s when he was 9, I am not sure he would have carried on, Says Louise. “I am therefore a fan of top ten ribbons in all Nancy Green Events!! You never know who might continue racing because of that ribbon!”
Coaching has brought many new highlights as her children and their teammates progressed up the athlete development pathway. “I had always dreamed of winning Olympic Gold, and although I never did, it was great to watch my U12 team sweep the podium at the Jasper Junior Olympics a few years back!” says Louise. “And my proudest moment as a Coach was witnessing our entire Jasper U16 Men’s team qualify for the U16 Canadian Nationals last year, along with my Jasper U14 Team winning a Silver medal at the Alberta Winter Games.”
“It’s the athletes that I work with that bring me the greatest joy!” says Louise. “I support and encourage all athletes regardless of Club, and I strongly believe the Ski Racing Community should always be aware of the influence we have on young athletes. It truly is our job to provide a challenging, supportive and positive experience for all of our ski racers.” Louise recognizes her mentors, Gilbert Wall, Brent Schleppe and all of the coaches she works with, for their support and encouragement. And of course, my older brother Terry, who introduced to me to skiing, my parents and sister who try to never miss a Jasper Race, my patient husband Mike and my 2 most challenging athletes, Jesse and Jake.”
“Ski Racing has been the foundation for my entire life” continues Louise. “It brought me true joy as a young person. It taught me the virtues of hard work and commitment as an adolescent, which led to my NCAA Scholarship and Bachelor of Science in Physiotherapy. However, most importantly it has allowed me to share my experience and experiences with many young skiers in Jasper, and throughout Alberta, which hopefully will help them achieve their goals as ski racers.”
The Canadian Rockies Ski Racing Hall of Fame and Alberta Alpine are pleased to recognize Louise Knight, our 2018 Honoured Alberta and Canadian Ski Team Alumni, for her excellence in representing our country and her dedication as a coach to sharing her passion for our sport with the next generation of athletes.
The 2018 Class will be inducted at the Highest Peak Gala, hosted at the Hotel Arts in Calgary on Tuesday, 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.