Alpine Skiing

Cheer on our alpine skiing athletes as they go for gold in Austria in 2017.


Alexia Barré

Alexia hails from Ste-Julie, Quebec and has been participating in Special Olympics programs for 12 years. She is excited to compete in alpine skiing in Austria and to meet new friends along the way. She is extremely proud of representing her city and country. In her spare time, she loves to bake and also participate in athletics, basketball and soccer in her home community.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Have fun!”

Chris Innes

Chris has been a participant in Special Olympics programs for 25 years. In addition to alpine skiing, which he will be competing in at the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games, Chris bowls, swims, golfs and snowshoes. Chris credits Special Olympics with allowing him to stay physically active and fit, and it allows him to meet new people from across the country and throughout the world. Being named to Team Canada is an “honour” for Chris and he is excited to work hard and hopefully bring home a medal (or two)!

David Whyne

Now in his 6th year in Special Olympics programs, David Whyne is thrilled to be going to Austria for alpine skiing. In addition to skiing, David takes part in athletics, soccer, golf, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. While sport is a great passion of David’s, in his free time he volunteers at the library and loves listening to music. He is excited to go to Austria for his first World Games experience.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Winning a gold medal.”

Erin Thom

Erin Thom, from Cranbrook, BC, is excited to go to Austria for World Games to compete and meet new people. She will be competing in alpine skiing and is proud of her silver and bronze medals from the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. In addition to being involved with Special Olympics, Erin has had multiple jobs including working for the Home Depot, the food bank and Special Olympics National partner, Staples Canada. Austria will be her 5th World Games, having previously gone in 1997, 2001, 2009 and 2013.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Skiing.”

Jonathan Robins

Having experienced a Special Olympics World Winter Games in 2013, Jonathan is excited to embark on his second World Games experience in Austria. In addition to alpine skiing, Jonathan is an avid softball, basketball, swimming and bocce player and loves to bowl and curl. Jonathan credits Special Olympics with keeping him busy and he is excited to go to Austria because “it’s going to be awesome!”

Goal for Austria 2017: “Personal best.”

Katherine St Amand

Katherine, a 10-year veteran of Special Olympics programs, is proud of being the Torch Runner at the last World Games. She credits Special Olympics with allowing her to be more open, to meet more friends, to be more social and not as shy. She is honoured to be named to Team Canada and is excited to compete in alpine skiing. In her spare time, she enjoys reading.

Goal for Austria 2017: “To have a good time and try my best.”

Matthew Fields

Matthew Fields has been involved with Special Olympics programs for 10 years. He also loves to play golf and soccer in his hometown of Toronto. Matthew credits Special Olympics with changing who he is and what he can do and accomplish. He is so excited to attend his first World Games and all the steps he accomplished along the way. Other than skiing throughout the winter months, Matthew loves music, playing the drums and guitar, singing and writing music.

Goal for Austria 2017: “I want to bring home the gold for Canada!!!”

Michael Gilbert

A veteran on the World Games scene, Michael Gilbert will be attending his fourth World Games, having previously attended in 2013, 2009 and 2005. Michael is self-employed, owning his own landscaping business with 4 employees. He has also achieved his ski instructor level 1. In addition to competing in alpine skiing in Austria, Michael is excited to meet new people and experience Austrian culture.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Perform my best.”

Michael Langridge

Attending World Games is a dream come true for Michael Langridge. The Victoria, BC alpine skiing athlete has been involved with Special Olympics for 15 years and “lives for” being involved with Special Olympics. In addition to alpine skiing, Michael enjoys swimming, bocce, football, floor hockey and participating in the local club fit program in his community. When he’s not playing sports, Michael loves music and to DJ.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Do my best.”

Michael Milani

Michael Milani, from Winnipeg Manitoba, is excited and looking forward to experiencing Austria and his first World Games. An avid alpine skier, Michael also enjoys swimming, athletics, bowling, cycling, sailing and curling. Special Olympics has allowed Michael to meet new friends and experience the joy of sport. In his spare time, he likes to play basketball.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Do well.”

Michael Wimbs

Michael Wimbs hails from Orillia, Ontario and is excited to be embarking on his first World Games experience for alpine skiing. His 15 years enrolled in Special Olympics programs have taught Michael to be more resilient, allow him to complete his university degree in Psychology and to obtain his driver’s license. To Michael, attending the World Games shows Canada and the world that people with an intellectual disability can achieve anything they put their mind to.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Become more physically fit and winning the gold medal!”

Roxana Podrasky

The 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games will be Roxana’s first foray at the World level and she is thrilled to be alongside her fellow alpine skiing teammates. Roxana says the Special Olympics programs have changed her and encouraged her to be a better person. She is healthier and in a better place because of sports. In her spare time, Roxana enjoys journal writing and baking.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Come home with a medal or a personal best.”

Sally Anderson

Sally Anderson hails from Ancaster, Ontario and has been a participant in Special Olympics programs for the past 6 years. Sally says Special Olympics has helped her to get fit, losing weight, eating better and feeling great about herself. She is proud with all of her accomplishments since being a part of Special Olympics. Attending the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria is a huge honour for Sally. She is excited that her dreams are coming true and her hard work has started to pay off!

Stéphanie Savard

Hailing from Quebec City, Stephanie has been a Special Olympics athlete for 6 years. In addition to alpine skiing, she also participates in athletics, soccer and softball, although she loves to play all kinds of sports. She has worked at the airport in Quebec City and is excited to go to Austria to meet new people from different countries.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Bring home the gold.”

Susan Wang

Hailing from Surrey, BC Susan Wang has been involved with Special Olympics for 5 years. Austria will be her first World Games experience and she’s thrilled to be going with her fellow alpine ski team members. While attending a World Games is a great accomplishment for her, she is also proud of her Royal Conservatory certificate and Kumon reading Level L. Susan credits Special Olympics with allowing her to meet new friends and compete. She’s excited to win medals and travel to Austria!

Goal for Austria 2017: “Try my best, make new friends and not fall or miss any gates.”

Valerie Nyhout

Valerie is a 12-year veteran of Special Olympics programs and in addition to alpine skiing, she participates in athletics, basketball, soccer, golf and gymnastics. She is excited to go to World Games to have fun and meet new people from all over the world. She is proud of the gold, silver and bronze medals she received at the Special Olympics Canada 2016 Winter Games. In her spare time, she enjoys playing guitar.

Goal for Austria 2017: “Do your best and have fun!”

Head Coach

Randy Scott

A veteran coach of 5 Special Olympics World Games, Randy is thrilled with adding Austria to his impressive list. He has been given the wonderful gift of being involved with Special Olympics for almost ½ his life and has met the greatest athletes, volunteers and fellow coaches anyone could wish for. He has travelled to wonderful countries to assist Special Olympics athletes in representing Canada! He has more “Lump in the Throat” moments than most people can ever imagine, and takes great pride in telling all who will listen, just how fantastic the world of Special Olympics is. He is, and always will be, grateful for every experience he has had, and all those yet to come. His advice to all his Alpine Skiiers is: “Faster, Faster, Faster until the Thrill of Speed overcomes the Fear of Death.” Go Team Canada!!!

Goal for Austria 2017: To assist my athletes in any way I can in having a Life altering experience in the safest environment possible.

Female Coaches

Lucie Villeneuve

Lucie first became an alpine ski coach with Special Olympics Quebec in 2006. She has coached athletes in the Special Olympics Quebec Provincial games in 2007, 2011 and 2015. Her first Special Olympics Canada Games were in 2016 in Cornerbrook, Newfoundland and Labrador, where she was also chosen as a coach for the 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Austria. Despite the language barrier, Lucie is enthusiastic and excited about experincing this once in a lifetime adventure.

Goal for Austria:
Helping the athletes have a positive, enriching sport experience.

Male Coaches

Mark Schnurr

Mark has been involved with Special Olympics for the past 27 years. He’s coached soccer, track & field, and alpine skiing. Being involved with Special Olympics is the most rewarding experience, to share the highs and lows of competition with the athletes brings him a sense of purpose. He’s been to four National Games and One Western Canada Games as well as numerous Provincial Games. This will be his first World Games and he is thrilled.

Goal for Austria 2017: To make sure every athlete has a life changing experience in the safest environment.

Michel Guyon

Michel’s coaching involvement with Special Olympics started in 2002 and has provided him with the opportunity to enrich the lives of athletes with an intellectual disability through sport. This movement has enriched Michel’s life in many ways, both on and off the field of play. He is very fortunate and honored to be part of Team Canada 2017; this will be his third World Games as an alpine ski coach. He is looking forward to working with his team of coaches to prepare Team Canada athletes to represent Canada (Go Canada Go!).

Goal for Austria 2017: The Special Olympics World Games is about unity, achievement and dignity. My goals are to bring this philosophy within Team Canada 2017 and provide support to our athletes and local coaches leading to the Games.

Ron Struch

Ron’s first experience coaching Special Olympics was in 2003. He volunteered to train an athlete for Alpine ski to prepare for the 2004 Canada Games. He has continued coaching the local alpine ski club, as well as prepare for Provincial Games and Canada Games. He has been the head coach for the only alpine ski club in Manitoba and the head coach for Manitoba at the 2004, 2008, 2012, 2016 Canada Games. The upcoming 2017 World Games will his first experience at a Special Olympics World Games and he is very excited to be an associate coach with a group of dedicated, well qualified coaches in alpine ski. He is looking forward to seeing the athletes involved from so many countries, how skilled the athletes are in alpine ski and enjoy the culture of the host country. He has gained many lifelong friends from my experiences in Special Olympics.

Goals for Austria 2017:

  • To have our athletes well prepared to compete to the best of their ability.
  • To share experiences with our athletes this will help them to enjoy the excitement of these World Games.
  • To help the athletes to enjoy the friendships and culture of the host country, Austria and to get the best experience in competition that they can.