Foggy conditions and high winds were no match for local speed skier David Dutkiewicz this weekend at the 2016 FIS World Cup Speed Skiing event in Sun Peaks, BC.
Dutkiewicz, a 27 year old Sault native, placed 9th and 5th in each World Cup race of the men’s Speed DH production class category. His speeds were 136.39 km/h and 136.54 km/h respectively. His personal best remains at 151.07 km/h, which he achieved last year at the same event.
“I feel really good about today,” remarked Dutkiewicz. ” It was a challenging race with gusting winds of 30-40 km/h but the track was fast and we all pushed the limit. I changed my skis today and it made a big difference.”
The event is a measure of absolute speed, unlike traditional alpine racing. Participants ski straight down a 325 meter prepared slope with a grade of 55% and are measured with a radar device. There are two classes: Speed 1 and Speed DH. Speed 1 allows racers to wear rubber suits, specialized aerodynamic helmets, leg inserts and gigantic skis. Speed DH participants use traditional alpine equipment.
To move up to the Speed 1 class, Dutkiewicz will need more sponsors as it is a costly endeavor. He is currently supported by the Duke of Windsor Sport Shop and Jory Kettles, personal trainer. He plans on skiing for the Speed DH class for one more year and plans on competing in Europe at faster venues where participants can exceed 200 km/h.
Born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie, Dutkiewicz began skiing and racing at Searchmont as a small child. He joined the Searchmont Ski Runners’ race program and raced in the alpine disciplines until his mid teens when he began coaching. He was taught the art of the speed tuck by long time coach and mentor Brian Mealey.
“I liked him as a fellow coach,” reflects Mealey. “He is loyal and passes knowledge onto others. It’s interesting that he still loves to feel the wind in his face at a hundred miles an hour; I wish I was with him.”
To follow David’s alpine journey, check out his Facebook profile.