Drew Goldsack has proven conclusively that he is the fastest sprinter in North America. The former Canadian National Ski Team (CNST) member and current Alberta World Cup Academy (AWCA) has won every domestic sprint race he has entered, and heads into the NorAm mini-tour this weekend in Rossland B.C. as a legitimate threat to win the entire event.
While Goldsack seems to have a leg up on the Americans in the sprint arena, he has yet hit his stride in distance events finishing 9th in the 10 k classic SuperTour event, and 5th in the 15 k freestyle last Sunday, despite feeling confident in his distance skiing ability.
“I’ve been happy overall with my [distance] shape,” Goldsack said in a phone interview with FasterSkier. Despite feeling good, he has a had some unfortunate luck in the two major distance races he has contended.
In West Yellowstone he struggled with equipment, breaking a pole. The 15 k freestyle last Sunday at Sovereign Lake Nordic Center didn’t suit his strengths. “I’m more of a power, fast-twitch kind of guy, and the soft conditions aren’t my favorite,” Goldsack said, “I tried to ski smooth and soft, but the sprinter legs were suffering.”
Goldsack and his Canadian teammates had the better of their American counterparts in the NorAm sprint race last Saturday, as the Americans were shut out of the podium, and only one finished in the top six. Conversely, the distance race was ruled by the Americans, as the Canadians finished with only two in the top seven.
“I think we’re in different places with our training,” said Goldsack of the national results breakdown. “Everyone here [in Canada] is focusing on our sprinting because of sprint trials this weekend.”
After struggling with injuries in the past, which limited his training, Goldsack has now been completely injury free for the entire training year. “Without adequate training, it has been hard to get a good winter in,” he said. “I’m feeling a lot better than I have in the last couple of years.”
That training has come from a new program as well. Goldsack was offered a spot on the Canadian National Development Team (or B Team), but opted to join the Alberta World Cup Academy instead.
“It’s nice to have a new environment,” he said, “It’s been great – the support is outstanding!”
The support, especially for domestic racing, has been a major positive factor. Goldsack has a dedicated wax and coaching staff at the AWCA, while the B Team members currently racing domesticlly (Perianne Jones and Graham Killick) have been attached to the Callahan Valley Training Center (CVTC), and have less support.
At 30, Goldsack is the most experienced racer on the team, and has taken advantage of being challenged by the younger team members. “It’s been nice training with a young energetic group,” he said.
Also, Goldsack is now being coached by a former teammate, Chris Jefferies, who is the assistant coach of the AWCA. Jefferies and Goldsack spent several years on the CNST together, which now makes for an interesting dynamic, according to Goldsack.
“It was a little bit strange at first, but now it’s really great,” Goldsack said, “He [Jefferies] is fresh from racing, and as a coach he can relate to athletes well. He knows exactly what it’s like to be training, and be tired.”
Goldsack also works closely with AWCA head coach Mike Cavaliere.
Goldsack, along with most of Canada’s top skiers now head to Rossland, B.C. for a mini-tour weekend, in which the sprint race is a qualifier for the Canadian World Championship team.
As a sprint selection race for World Championships, after showing he is in good form so far early this season, there is plenty of pressure on Goldsack to perform. He will also face some new competition – Stefan Kuhn (CNST), Phil Widmer (CNEPH) and George Grey (CNST) have returned from Europe to contest the event.