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Today's Date: 16 September 2014
Last Updated: 15 September 2014 17:30:29 EST
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Travers is happier now

Shane Hunter Ron Shillingford

As his big day approaches, Dow Travers is more upbeat than when he first arrived at Whistler two weeks ago.

Cayman’s first Winter Olympian goes in the giant slalom on Tuesday and after a frustrating first week of not getting much practice on the slopes because of mild weather, the last few days have been better.

Besides the skiing, Travers, 22, has regular sessions in the gym and is constantly under the physio for a troublesome ankle. No wonder relaxation time is just spent sleeping. He manages to check his Facebook and is pleased that the rugby crowd in Cayman is rooting for him. Some of them even came over to cheer him on but have to return before he races because his event day was put back two days due to lack of snow.

Travers is a Cayman national rugby player so there are plenty at the club house in South Sound monitoring his progress as well as Caymanians generally.

This is his first visit to Whistler, Canada’s premiere ski resort, 80 miles north of Vancouver, where many indoor events are being held. Travers thinks it merits its claim to be one of the world’s best. “Well just in terms of the amount of skiing ability of how many acres there are, it’s amazing. There are few places to compare, but I hear that the weather here is very inconsistent.”

Travers is on a fast learning curve as he is a novice to world class giant slalom racing. His coach Gene Bridgewater said: “We’re just doing the fine tuning now, it should be a good race.”

Giant slalom consists of two runs on two separate courses, going around 50-something ‘gates’. It combines the speed of the downhill with the technical side of being able to turn quickly and negotiate the terrain at over 40 miles an hour. The first course will be about 70-75 seconds in length and after all 80-odd competitors come down, a different course will be set. The top 30 finishers from that first run will be flipped in running order.

One Canadian who will be keenly monitoring how well Travers does is Shane Hunter, a snowboard instructor on the Blackcomb Mountain where Travers trains.

Hunter said: “I think it’s amazing that the Cayman Islands has produced an Olympic skier and I wish Dow all the best.”

 
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