Erik Guay, relaxed dad
From world champion to serene daddy
Erik Guay, the most-decorated Canadian alpine skier in history, announced his retirement on November 22 in Lake Louise. He is spending a peaceful winter in Mont-Tremblant, surrounded by his wife Karen and his four daughters. For the first time in many years, the weight of a coming season or an injury to heal is not on his shoulders.
Encountered on the slopes of Tremblant with Logann – the oldest of his four daughters – Erik admits without hesitation that he is enjoying the pleasures of finally being with his family, with a feeling of freedom. While waiting until Maude, the youngest, can take her first runs, his eyes sparkle and a smile curves his lips as he skis almost every morning with Logann, Marlo and Leni.
A well-earned retirement
“Skiing with my daughters makes me particularly happy,” says Erik. “Last year, I was often here, but I was living with stress because of my back problems, training, the Olympics and the coming races. Today, I feel good. I ski almost every day with the girls. I feel free.”
The day when everything tipped
“I had been thinking of stopping for a while, but I wanted to do a full season and retire in March,” explains 37-year-old Erik. “I was in shape and I felt I could still win.”
On November 13, at Nakiska, his teammate Broderick Thompson fell and badly injured his knee. You may remember that one year earlier, to the day, the French skier David Poisson died on this same run.
“That’s when everything tipped,” Erik explains. “I took a step back and told myself that I would have some difficulty in getting through this kind of an ordeal at this stage of my life. I’ve had so many injuries in my career. At that point I was in good health and wanted to avoid having injuries that would mortgage the rest of my life. Most of all, I wanted to remain active so I could ski with my kids.”
The shock wave
Erik explains that after this kind of shock, it takes two or three days for the members of the team to feel ready to attack. So the double world champion started to ski again and states that he felt ready for the Lake Louise World Cup. Everything was going well, but as Erik was in the gate and ready to launch his run, another of his teammates, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, took a bad fall and broke his leg.
“It was at that moment that I made my decision. I told myself that it was out of the question that I injure myself like that. I still made the run, but it took everything I had. My head was no longer in it. When you start questioning yourself like that in alpine ski racing, that’s already the end. You really have to be 100 percent there and ready to take that kind of risk. And I wasn’t there anymore,” Erik confides.
“I took an hour to reflect alone at the hotel,” he continues. “I called Karen and told her it was finished. She was relieved. As for me, I felt free, 1000 pounds lighter. I knew that I would have to live through a transition period, but it was the right decision.”
From competitor to television viewer
On November 30, riveted to his television screen, in the comfort of his own home, Erik watched the Beaver Creek race. “It was my kind of conditions,” he notes, “snowing a little. It was kind of exciting. I felt that I could have performed well. And then the German skier Thomas Dressen, a good guy, took a fall and injured his knee and his shoulder, which ended his season. I told myself that in the end, it wasn’t that bad to be in my living room watching the race on television.”
As far as his future projects are concerned, Erik is sticking to his decision to stay close to his family. Getting involved in local skiing seems to particularly interest him, and the ambitious project to bring a World Cup to Tremblant is still part of his plans. So…to be continued.
Enjoy your retirement, Erik!
The key moments of Erik Guay’s career
During his career, Erik won two World Champion titles including his first in downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, in 2011, and his second in super-G at Saint-Moritz, in 2017. In World Cup, he was on the podium twenty-five times for five victories and took home the super-G crystal globe in 2010. At the age of 35, he became the world’s oldest alpine skiing champion. In December 2013, he beat the Canadian record of 20 podiums, held by “Crazy Canuck” Steve Podborski. In the course of his career, Erik underwent six surgical operations to his knees. The most recent operation was in June 2014.
Guillaume Vincent249 Posts
Rédacteur et journaliste de profession, Guillaume Vincent a fait ses armes au sein de l’agence QMI. Il s’est joint au Tremblant Express en 2014. Promu en 2017, il y assume depuis le rôle de rédacteur en chef et directeur de la publication. / A writer and photojournalist by profession, Guillaume Vincent won his stripes in the QMI agency. He joined Tremblant Express in 2014. Promoted in 2017, he has been editor-in-chief and co-publisher since then.