Griffen Hanson!

“The successful warrior is the average man, with laser like focus” (Bruce Lee)

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How does a young 13 year old already have joining the National Ski Team on his bucket list? We sat down with Griffen Hanson and Mom Cindy to find out!

Griffen Hanson started skiing at the age of 2 and began showing interest in racing at the tender age of 4. The spark ignited early because his older brothers Ben and Came raced and so did his dad Scott. “I wanted to do it because my brothers and dad did it”. This provided him with a tremendous amount of inspiration, as he was able to watch them pursue their goals and get an early snapshot of what it takes to be a successful athlete. When he was 5 he won the Junior Club Championships at Osler Bluff Ski Club. This podium finish felt good and even at such a young age, the desire to win and be the best he could be, had become something that he tangibly wished to pursue.

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Like many young kids in our area the natural progression for Griffen was to begin racing in the Interclub series. He joined the U12 circuit and performed really well. At the end of his 2012/2013 race season, at the age of 10 Griffen ruptured his ACL and tore his meniscus. It was decided to not do surgery and instead, focus on physiotherapy & strength training. It was a challenging time to navigate for both Griffen and his family as deciding to opt out of surgery a tough decision, Mom Cindy, “It was scary, he didn’t ski again until Christmas of that year and he went back out onto the hill, not knowing how it would feel, I remember him being nervous, not knowing if he could do it or not.” It was up to Griffen to decide just how his rehabilitation would play out. For many young athletes this could have been a moment to take some time off and pursue other goals or activities. This set back made him even more determined. He took it as an opportunity to work even harder on dry land training and dedicated himself to regaining full mobility of his knee.

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This innate drive is exactly what Bruce Lee refers to as “laser like focus”. Coach Kevin Gosselin put it this way “He has a passion for the sport, his room was covered in ski posters since he was a kid. Having two older brothers blazing a trail for him and being the youngest sets him up to always wanting to catch up. His work ethic is insane, he is one of the hardest working kids on the hill, his absolute passion for the sport sets an excellent example for the other kids in our group to follow. He was a team leader this season.”

This year Griffen got to travel out West to BC and compete in the Whistler Cup. The first round of racing was the Dual Slalom on Friday, April 1st, where unfortunately Griffen DQed on the course “I got mad when I fell on the first day, I wanted to come back and win the Slalom on the Saturday, it felt like a wake up call to work a little harder.” On Saturday, April 2 Griffen did exactly what he had set his mind to achieving. He won the Whistler Cup Slalom with a time of 47.45, beating out over 150 athletes from all over the world! “I like winning and don’t like coming in second place.”

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Every great young athlete has a wonderful support team behind them and Griffen is not exception. It takes a village to raise to a ski racer and he says he couldn’t do it without his parents, brothers and his Grandfather “Dippy” (Mom Cindy’s dad). We asked him why his Grandfather was playing such a huge role in his journey “He has done a lot of stuff, climbed Mount Everest and run companies. He takes me to Active Life Conditioning, offers support and is at the bottom of the hill at every race, wearing his big fur coat and cheering me on.” He also draws inspiration by following the career of Slalom/Giant Slalom ski racer Henrik Kristoffersen. “He is pretty young to be on the world cup circuit, he won 3rd place at the Sochi 2014 Olympics.” If Griffen’s determination and dedication towards racing continues we have no doubt that he may be following the same trajectory as Henrik who bagged his first World Cup 3rd place podium at the age of 19 in Finland.

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Griffen’s short term goals are to continue training for the 2016/2017, this will include some travelling to Europe this summer and also laying in some runs in Colorado over the fall. He also loves mountain biking and will be trying out racing this year at some of the local events. “Next year I want to podium a lot and someday make the World Cup and join the Canadian Ski Team.”

We asked his coach Kevin Gosselin the very tough question of describing those intangible qualities that Griffen possesses “He is just so hard working, a dream to coach. He has absolute passion and motivation for the sport. He is that kid that always wants to do another run, even when the training day has ended.”


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