Kaspar Wirz, coach

Kaspar Wirz

 

It isn’t a stretch to state that Kaspar Wirz is the man behind Canada’s incredible international success in para-nordic skiing since 1994. In fact it was after the 1994 Paralympic Games in Norway that Wirz was hired as coach of Canada’s para-nordic team. Wirz was head coach of the Canadian team from 1996 to 2010, leading the squad at four Paralympic Games and developing athletes such as world multi-medallists Colette Bourgonje and Brian McKeever.  He was on the 2014 Paralympic team coaching staff.

His first Paralympic Games as Canada’s head coach in 1998 is considered the turning point for the program. Bourgonje won two silver medals in Nagano for Canada’s first para-nordic Paralympic medals in decades. The team went on to win 14 more medals at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Winter Paralympics.

Wirz, a former competitor for Switzerland and Canada in biathlon, continues to work for the Canadian para-nordic program as a biathlon coach and advisor, guiding Canada’s top Paralympic biathlete, Mark Arendz.

He is also recognized for his international leadership. He serves on the IPC’s Nordic skiing technical committee and on the CPC’s coach council. Wirz has been instrumental in bringing World Cup events to Canada and convincing the Canada Games Council to include para-nordic events in its Winter Games.

Wirz was a national biathlon champion in 1991 and 1992. He originally joined the Canadian para-nordic team as a guide and competed at the 1994 Paralympic Winter Games in Lillehammer.

CAREER HIGHLIGHTS

Led Canada to 14 medals total at the 2002, 2006 and 2010 Paralympic Winter Games… On 2014 Paralympic team coaching staff... Won the Tim Frick Paralympic Coach Excellence Award in 2010… Three-time winner of the Petro-Canada’s Coaching Excellence Award (2002, 2006, 2010)