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The Coupe Pontiac GMC Cup season kicks off this Thursday as the national ski racing series celebrates 40 years of providing amateur skiers with essential competitive experience on the road to World Cup and Olympic Winter Games competition.

The 2008-09 Coupe Pontiac GMC Cup season includes a total of 39 races in three provinces across Canada, beginning in Bromont, QC with a ladies slalom race on Thursday.

“General Motors of Canada strongly supports the development of up-and-coming young ski racers and in partnership with Alpine Canada Alpin, created the Pontiac GMC Cup series to help those Canadian athletes to be amongst the best in the world,” said Fred Lautenschlager, sponsorship manager at GM of Canada.

GM of Canada is the title sponsor of the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships taking place March 19 to 25 in Le Massif and Mont Sainte-Anne, QC where high-potential young athletes from across Canada compete head-to-head against athletes from the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in speed and technical events.

The Pontiac GMC Canadian J1 Championships, bringing Canada’s top 15 and 16-year-old ski racers to Whistler, BC to determine national champions for that age group, will provide an additional 12 races this season.

“GM of Canada’s ongoing commitment to develop the highest quality ski racing programs for 40 years now has been an instrumental part of our current success and our goal is to continue building on the momentum they have helped create,” said ACA President Gary Allan.

“GM of Canada is involved in a number of successful and innovative partnerships, from title sponsor of more than 51 ski races in Canada this season, to the use of the GM Wind Tunnel by our athletes, to the athlete vehicle program that provides our best performers with GM vehicles for one year,” said Allan.

The Coupe Pontiac GMC Cup is a developmental ski racing program sanctioned by Alpine Canada Alpin and the International Ski Federation (FIS).

The series is the brain-child of Olympic Champion Nancy Greene Raine, who approached General Motors 41 years ago with the concept of creating a strong domestic series for up-and-coming Canadian alpine racers to compete with the best across the country. GM of Canada has a rich history as a benefactor to communities and to amateur support. Thus, the original Pontiac Cup series was launched, and out of it came some of Canada’s best alpine racers including Kathy Kreiner, Gerry Sorensen, Laurie Graham, Karen Percy, and the Crazy Canucks.

The Coupe Pontiac GMC Cup was won last season by Benjamin Thomsen of British Columbia and Ontario’s Erin Mielzynski.



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