The Jozo Weider Alpine Race Team family is a diverse and interesting group of people. Our racers live exciting lives, but not necessarily restricted to the ski hill. Our racers, coaches, and parents have other hobbies and jobs outside of the usual. We’ll use this forum to profile some very interesting Jozo family members. You never know who’s sitting beside you…
If you know of someone whose interesting tale should be shared, write a paragraph or two, grab a photo, and email it to us. Oh, and don’t forget to get approval from them first!
Jozo Weider Head Coach Rob Crossan seemed destined to have been a member of Canada’s National Ski Team. His parents were both members of the ski patrol at Collingwood’s Blue Mountain. They had him skiing by age three, and racing by the time he was ten. At the age of thirteen, he finished fourth in the Canadian Juvenile Championships, earning an invitation to a camp of national coaches, and placing him on the road to the National Team.
In 1986 he skied with both the Ontario Alpine Ski Team and the Canadian National Development Group, won three of five races, and finished 2nd in another, and was the Sealtest Cup Ontario Alpine Overall Champion. He placed second overall in the Canadian Alpine Ski Series. He won both the Junior and Senior Combined at the Canadian Alpine Ski Championships. He followed up with outstanding results in the American Junior Invitational National Championships, the North American spring Series, FIS races in Quebec, and Eastern and Western Nor-Am races. For this breakthrough year, he received an Achievement Award from the Ontario Government Sports Award Program, and was named Barrie’s 1986 Amateur Athlete-of-the-Year. More importantly, he was named in 1987 to the National Team.
Although his first international success as an 18 year-old member of the National Team was a 24th place finish in his first World Cup downhill in Japan, Crossan was a slalom specialist. He competed internationally in slalom, giant slalom, and super giant slalom, as well as in the combined event (downhill one day, slalom the next). His twelfth place finish in the combined at the 1992 Albertville Olympics is the best ever finish for a Canadian male in that event. He also finished 20th in the slalom and 35th in the Super G at Albertville.
Crossan also competed at the 1994 Olympic Games in Lillehammer, where he finished 20th in the giant slalom. His (10th) place in the 1991 World Championships at Saalbach, and 8th place in the slalom at a 1993 World Cup event in Park City, Utah, remain the best-ever finishes by a Canadian male in those events. He was the North American Slalom Champion in 1993 and 1994, and won 11 different Canadian Championships between 1983-1993 encompassing all the alpine disciplines.
Rob Crossan is both a Level III Coach and Level III Examiner with the Canadian Ski Coaches Federation.
These days Pierre Savard is more likely to be found cheering on daughter, Catherine (U16 Jackals) and son, Charles (Freestyle Team), than racing down the ski slopes, but in his youth he was an avid ski racer. After his racing days, he went on to coach at Mount Orford Ski Club in the province of Quebec.
For the past several years, Pierre has traveled back and forth between Switzerland and his office at the University of Toronto. Though skiing in the Swiss Alps is an attractive draw, it was the opportunity to work with thousands of physicists on the Large Hadron Collider at CERN that brought Pierre to Geneva. There he works as a particle physicist and was a member of the world-renowned team that discovered the Higgs boson (the God Particle) in 2012.
When he isn’t discovering elusive particles or skiing down mountains, Pierre is an enthusiastic sailor and recently completed the Caribbean 600, a 600-mile offshore race. Pierre and his wife, Valerie, are also parents to Newton, a Bichon, and Murphy, a Barbet.
Isabella (aka Bella) first stood on skis when she was 1.5 years old and has been a keen Jozo racer for over 10 years.
Bella loves sports. Outside of skiing she is a competitive soccer player, currently playing with the North Toronto Nitros , an avid tennis player, as well as a lifeguard. She has also successfully represented her school in a variety of sports such as cross-country, volleyball, track, and more. Over the years Bella has won several soccer tournaments including the regional league as one of the leading goal scorers, tennis championships and interschool tournaments.
Bella is not only a passionate athlete; she also has a thing for the arts. Isabella has been playing piano for 10 years and is a self-taught guitarist, which she complements with vocals. No doubt one of her most exciting accomplishments was playing in front of a full crowd at Rockie Raccoons Bar (see picture). Bella loves to play and sing covers and also writes her own music, with some songs even recorded in studio. Click on the links below to listen to some of her covers:
In her spare time, Bella loves to take photos, shoot videos and edit them into travel and go-pro videos. Bella is currently attending the gifted program at Northern Secondary School. Last summer Bella worked at Brandy Melville for 6 months but stopped so she could continue to follow her love for ski racing.
Looking toward the future, Bella is not quite ready to hang up the skis yet. Before heading to university she plans to coach for a few years.
Did you know that Jozo Weider Coach and former Jozo Weider Racer Savannah Rouse is a gifted runner?
Savannah’s love for running started ‘right out of the blocks’ in grade school. Savannah earned the nickname “Cheetah Girl” for her year over year podium placements in the 100m and 200m track races. Savannah initially did not think about pursuing running beyond participating in school track meets, until some people spoke to her about joining a running club. Savannah was introduced to Terry Radchenko, Assistant Coach with the University of Toronto Blues Varsity Track Club. Even given Savannah’s successful track record as a Sprinter, this Coach envisioned Savannah having the make-up to become a great Middle-Distance Runner (400m & 800m), with a sprint-kick finish. Savannah embraced this vision and never looked back.
Throughout High School, Savannah qualified and participated at OFSAA in both Track & Field and Cross Country delivering great results.
Like many Athletes, Savannah too has had to face the highs and lows (injured 2015) of higher level competitive sport and has persevered.
In compliment to Savannah’s athletic activities, she also enjoys expressing her creative side, exploring the outdoors and abroad with camera in hand. Savannah is the eldest of three siblings and is a caring and fun loving sister to her brothers, Parker and Jackson.
Savannah looks forward to what the future may hold, as she pursues both her academic and running dreams!
Born in Zhilina in 1908, in the eastern or Slovak part of Czechoslovakia, Jozo Weider's destiny would forever be linked to mountain environments when, in his early 20s, he built an isolated chalet in the Carpathian mountains. It would remain his home throughout the 1930s and from which he was able to earn a living as an innkeeper, mountain guide and photographer. In 1939, Weider took a trip to Britain to promote tourism for his resort. He was still in Britain when the Germans invaded Czechoslovakia in the spring of 1939. An urgent telegram to his wife enabled her to leave the country with their one year-old son and join him in England where they applied for status as political refugees. In the summer of 1939, they emigrated to Canada and to a hard life as settlers in what was then the frontier settlement of the Peace River.
Later that year, he travelled east, to Quebec where he found work as a ski instructor at the Chateau Frontenac. A year later, after deciding to return to the ski business, he moved back to Quebec with his family to teach for another season at the Alpine Inn in Ste. Marguerite. It was there that he met Peter Campbell, later appointed to the Senate, who was involved in the development of the ski area at Collingwood, Ontario. He would become Jozo Weider's financial partner and backer throughout most of Jozo's career. Arriving in Collingwood in the spring of 1941, Jozo Weider's legendary enthusiasm and capacity for hard work were quickly confirmed; it was perhaps inevitable that Collingwood's Blue Mountain would become one of Canada's largest and most dynamic ski areas with 42 trails and 13 lifts on 800 acres of escarpment land.
Shortly after his death in 1971, the Collingwood Enterprise-Bulletin noted in its October 6th, 1971 edition, "There are very few men who are born with the gift of vision, perseverance and physical ability which this undertaking (Collingwood) required." it would go on to say, "It has always been difficult to consider Jozo a Canadian...He was a citizen of the world, in mind, in knowledge and in experience. However, he was one of the greatest promoters of Canadian life that we will ever know, he was good to Collingwood, and he was good for Collingwood. He influenced out thinking, swayed our opinions and often influenced our decisions...but he never led them astray...It is doubtful if the complete contribution to Collingwood and district, and its people, will ever be known."
To those thoughts might be added that Jozo Weider's influence was not restricted to Collingwood but also to the larger arena of international skiing traceable through the exploits of well-known Canadian alpine competitors who grew up on the mountain, Todd Brooker, Liisa Savijarvi, Kellie Casey and the legendary Ernie McCulloch, Director of the Ski School, in particular.
from the The Canadian Ski Hall of Fame
A final note. A few years ago I was speaking with Jozo's daughter Helen. We were on the hill and were suddenly surrounded by a sea of red Jozo jackets. She commented on how proud her father would be to see his name on so many racers jackets. I asked about the logo, the signature. She shared a secret. You see Jozo's handwriting was terrible, practically illegible. So her mother Helena would often sign documents and cheques on Jozo's behalf. The signature is actually Helena Weider's.