Canadian national team alpine ski racer and Olympian Valérie Grenier went back to school recently.

On March 22, the St-Isidore-raised Grenier visited École Secondaire Publique Le Sommet in Hawkesbury, the high school she graduated from in 2014, to talk with students about her career, experiences, and to offer some advice.

Students from École Élémentaire Publique Nouvel-Horizon also attended.

The short assembly was done interview-style, with questions asked by Le Sommet student Lyana Joanisse.

Grenier recalled the challenges of studying and training and staying calm before major competitions.

It is an understatement to say that alpine skiers get to experience many different mountains. She said her favourite one is in Cortina d’Ampezzo, a popular alpine ski resort in Italy.

Grenier explained that it is important to develop a solid technique and maintain a quality performance when only fractions of seconds matter in alpine skiing.

She called her first Olympic experience in PyeongChang South Korea in 2018, “really stressful.”

In South Korea, she placed sixth the Alpine Combined, 21st in Downhill, and 23rd in Super-G and Giant Slalom.

Grenier said there was a family atmosphere among the Canadian Olympians in PyeongChang.

“It was incredible to represent Canada,” she said.

The skier added that she made friends with the other Canadian athletes while at the games.

During her visit to Le Sommet, Grenier was walking with two canes.  On February 6, she sustained a season-ending injury while training for the 2019 Audi FIS Alpine World Championships in Sweden.  She fractured her right tibia and right ankle and required surgery.

“There was a lot of pain,” said Grenier.

The injury ended a season, but not her career.  She is planning to be back on the slopes next season and is hoping to represent Canada and compete at the next winter Olympics in Beijing.

Before, the injury, Grenier had placed fourth in Super-G at the World Cup competition in Cortina d’Ampezzo Italy, fifth in Super-G in Lake Louise Alberta, 11th in Giant Slalom in Solden Austria, 20th in Giant Slalom in Courchevel France, and 25th in Giant Slalom in Semmering Austria.

Grenier has been skiing since she was two years old. There are no mountains in St-Isidore, but her grandparents, Louise and Marcel Bourdon, had a condominium at Mont-Tremblant, and that’s where Grenier got her start.

Her family also includes parents Nathalie and Gabriel, and brother Francis.

“Continue to believe and work hard,” was Grenier’s advice for young people trying to achieve goals and objectives.

Valérie Grenier with students and staff from École Secondaire Publique Le Sommet and École Élémentaire Publique Nouvel-Horizon. Photo: James Morgan