The level of talent on the Canadian women's ski cross team is so great that one of the most dominant athletes in the history of the sport was left off the Olympic roster this year - a simple matter of FIS points and results in a handful of qualifier events.
But given a chance to race again at Branas, Sweden this past weekend, Squamish's Aleisha Cline showed that she's still one of the top cross skiers in the world. She earned a silver medal behind World Cup leader Ophelie David of France.
"Luckily I'm a good glider, so this course was definitely a good course for me," said Cline of the course at Branas. "I was good out of the start so just being able to stay within striking distance through the turns and into the gliding I was able to excel. At one point during the race I was behind Hedda Berntsen (of Norway) and I thought, 'hey she was a silver medallist in the Olympics! That's kind of cool!' then I passed her at the line."
It was Cline's second World Cup podium since she returned to the sport last season after the birth of her second child. While she fell just short of a berth in the Olympics she stayed involved as a commentator for CTV.
The other Canadian women had a rougher time with the course, which favoured racers over jumpers. Kelsey Serwa placed a solid sixth while Olympic champion Ashleigh McIvor, in the hunt for the overall World Cup title, placed 13 th .
Cline was only one of two medals for the Canadian team, as Chris Del Bosco skied into the silver medal position between Olympic champion Michael Schmid of Switzerland and Olympic silver medallist Andreas Matt of Austria.
It was a bit of payback for DelBosco, who had a bad start in the men's Olympic ski cross final at Cypress then crashed while trying to catch the leaders.
"I felt surprisingly good out of the start today," he said. "I had strong starts all day until I put a pole between my legs out of the start in the final heat. I was fourth out of the gate and managed to pass up to second spot and just ran out of time at the line."
DelBosco moved into second in the World Cup standings but Schmid has a solid lead as the tour enters the home stretch.
Teammate Nic Zoricic posted his best World Cup result of the season, eighth place. Stanley Hayer was 10 th . Whistler's Brian Bennett was back on skis after an injury and placed 26 th .
The next event takes place this weekend in Grindelwald, Switzerland.