Hometown moguls star ready to rock at Canada Olympic Park World Cup

 

Ulsifer, 19, looking forward to home-course advantage this weekend

 
 
 

His left shoulder taped up, Luke Ulsifer plans on bombing down the hill Saturday.

He wouldn’t miss this for the world.

“I just pole-planted really hard and it came out a little bit,” the 19-year-old of the National Sports School is saying in blissful sunshine, near the finish line for this weekend’s FIS 2013 Freestyle Ski Moguls Grand Prix at Canada Olympic Park.

“I popped the shoulder last season, so it’s kind of an ongoing thing. It comes out pretty easily. Last year was the first time I did it. So this time wasn’t as bad.

“I skied last season with it taped up mos t of the time.

“So I think I’m fine.”

And even if he wasn’t, he probably wouldn’t let on. Because this sort of opportunity — making your World Cup bow on home snow, at the facility you cut your teeth on — doesn’t come along often.

“It’s ... amazing. My first World Cup, at home? It’s awesome. There’s nerves, sure. But I feel more relaxed now that we’re in training. It feels more like the normal routine.”

He certainly doesn’t need wonder where anything is or how anything works. The 19-year-old out of the National Sports School knows every nook and cranny of COP every bit as well as his family backyard out in the Discovery Valley.

“I’ve skied here a lot of times. A LOT. And that helps, the familiarity. I feel comfortable here. So there’s no anxiety that way.

“The course is definitely difficult. Still, overall, before the last run (Thursday) was a good day. Hopefully the shoulder feels fine tomorrow. It’s a bit different atmosphere than I’m used to, for sure. Higher-level skiers all around.

“It’s kind of intimidating, at first. But the Canadian team has Alex Bilodeau and Mikael Kingsbury on it, the top guys in the world. I train with them all the time. Still, seeing the whole field at such a high level, it does make you take a second look.”

And Saturday? Mightn’t knowing that his parents Allan and Karen, brothers Dane and Adam and a whole posse of other family and friends inside the spectators bowl at the bottom of the moguls course set those nerve-ending jangling again?

“Living in Calgary and skiing here, I know a lot of people. It’s a pretty small community that way.

“Once I’m in the gate, though, it’ll be fine. When I’m competing I don’t really have much on my mind. When I’m ready to go, it’ll be all routine for me. Stay relaxed. Stay focused.

“Business as usual.”

gjohnson@calgaryherald.com

Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH

 
 
 
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