It’s been a roller-coaster month of March for Windermere skier Martin Grasic.
First, Grasic competed against some of the best 15 and 16 year old skiers in the country during the FIS J1 National Championships in Whistler from March 6 to 11. Coming off of a 7th place finish in an FIS slalom race in late February, Grasic exceeded all expectations and was crowned giant slalom national champion, after finishing nearly a second and a half ahead of his nearest competitor when final times were tallied.
“It was pretty exciting, it was my first time to win on a national level,” Grasic said.
“It definitely gives me a lot of confidence.”
Just six days later Grasic hit the slopes again, but this time for an FIS race at Sunday River in New England. Grasic carried the momentum from his huge win the week before, and claimed his second consecutive first place finish, again in giant slalom.
“It’s awesome to go to work with guys like this,” coach Brandon Dyksterhouse said. “It’s really a tribute to the ski programs in B.C.”
While Grasic’s next three finishes were disappointing compared to those impressive wins, he says that the confidence he’s obtained just from winning those races is invaluable, something his coach agrees with.
“That’s one thing that I think is really important in any sport, is that you have to learn how to win,” Grasic said. “It’s a big difference to be able to have that kind of composure and confidence.”
“I think for any of the guys, learning to win is so valuable,” Dyksterhouse added. “Always, on any given day, you might be the highest-ranked competitor, but there’s always people that are going to beat you, and for Martin to have consecutive podiums, I think it should lead to his maturity and his ability to handle stress on race day.”
A humble competitor, Grasic was quick to point out that his success in those two races may well be due to the fact that he was competing solely against skiers his own age. For much of the season, Grasic has also been racing against members of the national team. However, Dyksterhouse says that this isn’t completely an accident.
“We’ve been trying to get him to peak around the end of the season,” he said. “Traditionally, the spring series are the best opportunities for skiers like Martin to increase their world rankings.”
Next for Grasic is an FIS race at Panorama this week.
Depending on how he places, Grasic also says there is an opportunity for him to compete in some more races in the US before the season ends. However, regardless of where he finishes, he knows his consecutive wins are big for his dreams of being a professional skier.
“I feel like I just kept working at it throughout the entire season,” Grasic said. “I knew it was going to happen, I just had to keep going.”