If you are in Belgravia during the Christmas season, you just might see Laurenne Ross at the local gym, or maybe walking or running on the snow-blown sidewalks.
Ross spends Christmases in her hometown, but she doesn’t quit training. She’s on course to ski at the Olympics in Sochi. That is, she is going to ski for the Stars and Stripes, not the red Maple Leaf.
Ross is an Edmonton-born medal hope, and a member of the U.S. ski team. Last season, Ross won the super giant-slalom U.S. national title at Squaw Valley. At a World Cup downhill in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, she got a second place finish. And the U.S. speed team got more World Cup points last year than any other nation.
So, how did Ross go from Canada to the U.S.? She was born in Edmonton; when she was seven, her family relocated to Oregon, but she remained a Canadian citizen. When she was 14, she had the chance to ski at the Topolino, a top event for young skiers. But she had a problem. Because she had only a Canadian passport, she couldn’t go with the U.S. ski team. And, because she didn’t live in Canada, the Canadian team couldn’t take her.
So, she got a U.S. passport, received dual citizenship and became a devoted American skier. “Ever since then, I haven’t thought about racing for Canada. Now, the American speed team is so good. The Canadian ski team has struggled for the last couple of years. With the U.S. team, I am training with the fastest girls in the world,” says Ross.
Two seasons ago, she got to ski the course in Sochi, where she hopes to earn a spot on the podium.
“It’s a really fun course. It’s different. It’s pretty varied terrain, definitely all kinds of hills. It’s pretty straightforward; there’s one part that’s tough. But if you ask around, the skiers will tell you it’s a lot of fun.”
Many of Ross’ family members still live in Edmonton, so she comes back on a regular basis. She spends her holidays here. A grandmother lives in Victoria. So, there’s no clean break. Even though she lives in Bend, Ore., her Canadian roots still show.
“I really do like coming back to Edmonton. I really like to go on long walks with my grandma. Belgravia, I really like the district. When I look at the city, that’s the part I am closest to.”