When 16-year-old Cassidy Gray smiles it’s difficult to miss the family resemblance to Haliburton’s Scotty Morrison her grandpa.
Morrison is well-known in the Highlands for his connection to the NHL its hockey hall of fame and various charitable causes in the community.
Gray the daughter of Morrison’s daughter Joanne shares her grandfather’s athleticism with her alpine skiing and hopes to earn a spot with Canada’s alpine team and maybe one day the Olympics.
The Grade 11 student lives in the small British Columbia town of Invermere close to Panorama and is a competitive downhill skier.
She spoke to the Echo while enjoying her off-season visiting family for two weeks this month.
She has a penchant for speed and isn’t afraid of hard work which was rewarded at the end of the season when she won the Nancy Greene Award – named after the highly decorated alpine skier from the 1960s who had two World Cup titles and a record 13 World Cup wins.
Gray won with a second in slalom as the top U16 female Canadian skier at the Whistler Cup which included international competition from Europe and South America.
Gray who was only a hundredth of a second from getting on the podium for super-G said to win this award is to be included with other great athletes.
“These are all people I’ve looked up to the whole time so to be on that list it’s really cool for me” she said.
The award gives her confidence that an Olympic future is possible.
“I can go to the national team. I can go to the Olympics. It’s all within grasp” she said.
After this coming year’s experience competing on the Féderation Internationale de Ski circuit the top international level of skiing she wants to make either the provincial team or the national development team and then see how life unfolds.
Gray said none of her success would be possible without the support of her grandpa and her parents.
“If I’m kind of on the fence about something they’re definitely there saying ‘Oh yeah. You should do this. You can do this. You’ll have no problem with that’” she said.
The 16-year-old member of the Panorama Ski Team has loved making her annual summer pilgrimage to the area ever since she was born.
She always looks forward to visiting with her grandpa and spending time with cousins on Kennisis Lake swimming or boating. She appreciates the mornings when she can get up early to see the sunrise on Kennisis Lake.
Her time in Haliburton is a welcome respite from her season of alpine ski racing and training both on snow and land.
Between the beginning of November and mid-May she will be training five days a week on snow and then will dry-land train four days a week.
In August she will be training and competing in races with an international field of competitors for the month with the Sunshine and Vancouver Ski Team. This is her second year going to Chile.
Morrison said her team coach this year Mark Sharp former World Cup coach with the Canadian Olympic Alpine Ski team told her parents “you can look forward to maybe an Olympic trip some time in the future. We’ll see. We’ll see.”