Three skiers; Janyk injured
The alpine World Cup season kicked off at Soelden, Austria last weekend.
The Canadians will no doubt look back on the weekend as a learning experience, with only two athletes, Whistlers Britt Janyk and Julien Cousineau qualifying for a second giant slalom run. Neither finished.
The women were first out of the gate on Saturday, Oct. 25. Cold temperatures kept the course hard and icy, and there was little room for error. The conditions also made it all but impossible for the skiers in late start positions to advance, as the hard ruts in the course got deeper and deeper.
Whistlers Britt Janyk led the way, starting from the eighth position and ending up in 11 th after her first run with a time of one minute, 15.50 seconds within a second of the top-five.
"The snow was so hard, so different compared to what weve been training on," said Janyk. "It took a little bit of getting used to that.
"I was definitely nervous but I think I controlled it well. The first race of the season, youre not in the rhythm of racing."
None of the other Canadians finished in the top 30, and so didnt qualify for a second run. Fernies Emily Brydon was 49 th ; Allison Forsyth of Nanaimo and Gail Kelly of Montreal did not finish.
Things went bad in the second run when Janyk pulled up with an unexpected knee injury.
"Maybe the conditions had something to do with it, but I dont know what happened," she said. "I didnt crash. Something went inside my knee, and I had to pull up.
"It was a tough break. I had a really good first run, I was having a good second run it could have been a great day, but it wasnt."
Janyk is home in Whistler recovering. The knee swelled up on the plane ride home, but she says she is feeling better and walking on it. Doctors still had to look inside with a scope, but Janyk is confident that she will be back in a few weeks.
Forsyth and Kelly also slipped and fell on their runs, but were uninjured.
"I felt great today," said Forsyth. "I had a fantastic summer of training, probably my best summer ever. So obviously its frustrating to slip out on the first run."
Forsyth has already put her result behind her and is looking to the next World Cup races at Park City, Utah in November.
"I feel very comfortable in Park City. I love that hill. Im so aggressive and ready to go there because I know I can win this year. Unfortunately I may be bumped out of the top 15 (starting order) now but I love fighting from the back."
Martina Ertl of Germany took the gold medal, 0.2 seconds ahead of Anja Paerson of Sweden after two runs. Maria Jose Rienda Contreras of Spain was third.
The conditions didnt improve much for the men on Sunday.
The day ended early for Banffs Thomas Grandi, who was starting in the top-10. His ski popped off in a rough section near the top of the course.
"Its something thats not supposed to happen," said Grandi. "But the next guy behind me did the same thing on a different brand of bindings so you cant blame the equipment."
The other Canadians, starting well back in pack, had an even rougher course to navigate.
Julien Cousineau of Lachute, Quebec, started the day in 56 th position, and managed to move up to the 30 th place, and qualify for a second run. Erik Guay of Mt. Tremblant and Jean-Philippe Roy of Ste-Flavie started 65 th and 67 th respectively.
"I went all out," said Cousineau. "I didnt see much of the first leg because my head was bouncing around so much. All I was thinking was attacking, attacking."
Cousineau skied even more aggressively in his second run, where a small mistake put him off course.
"Im not a very happy guy right now," said Cousineau. "I couldnt get it back.
"At least it shows Im there. I was three-tenths (of a second) ahead (of the second run field) halfway. Last year I was six seconds out, here. Its looking good. It shows that I worked out this summer and Im ready for the World Cup."
Bode Miller of the U.S. took the gold medal by more than a second. Frederic Covili and Joel Chenal of France were second and third respectively.
The skiers have almost a month off to recover and train, with the next World Cup events getting underway at Park City, Utah on Nov. 22.