In assessing Canada’s performance at the recent Whistler World Cup races, Alpine Canada President Ken Read told Pique columnist Michel Beaudry that he’d rather see depth and consistency at this stage than podiums.
“To see four Canadian guys in the top-15 in super G is a real tribute to our program,” he said. “To be honest, I’d be more concerned if we’d gotten one racer on the podium and nobody else in the top-15. This way our guys stay focused — and hungry.”
The same consistency was on display at Kvitfjell, Norway this past weekend with athletes just missing the podium on three straight days and Canadians crowding the top-30.
Manuel Osborne-Paradis, formerly of the Whistler Mountain Ski Club, placed fourth in the opening downhill event, just 0.08 seconds behind third place finisher Klaus Kroell. John Kucera was ninth for Canada, while Erik Guay placed 21 st .
“This is the first fourth place finish of my World Cup career and it’s funny because I had some bad feelings in the start hut,” said Osborne-Paradis, currently ranked sixth in the men’s downhill standings. “I skied too cautiously but I guess fourth is not that bad after all.”
Werner Heel of Italy took the win, followed by Bode Miller of the U.S.
In a second World Cup downhill the following day, Osborne-Paradis dropped back one spot to fifth, but was closer to a medal with a gap of just 0.06 seconds separating him from the podium. Bode Miller took the win, followed by Didier Cuche of Switzerland and Werner Heel of Italy.
Erik Guay helped round out the top-10 with a seventh place finish, while John Kucera and Robbie Dixon earned points in 21 st and 28 th place respectively.
In the final day of racing, a super G, Whistler’s Robbie Dixon tied for fourth place with Ambrosi Hoffmann of Switzerland, one-tenth of a second back of the podium.
Bode Miller picked up his third medal of the weekend by finishing in second place. Georg Streitberger of Austria was first and Didier Cuche placed third.
Erik Guay was seventh once again, while three-other Canadians cracked the top-20 — Francois Bourque in 14 th and John Kucera and Manuel Osborne-Paradis in a tie for 19 th .
It was Dixon’s second top-10 in super G in his rookie season on the World Cup, after placing sixth at a World Cup in Kitzbühel, Austria.
“The track was in really good shape,” he said. “It was actually a pretty cold temperature but a beautiful day with the sun out. I lucked out with the draw and had a good bib number.
“I was feeling really good in inspection before the race,” Dixon continued. “I knew I needed a good run to qualify for the finals in Bormio.
“I’ll take my fourth place without a problem. It’s kind of tough, but it shows I can improve from results in the past and it’s looking good for next season.”
With the result Dixon moves up to 16 th in the World Cup super G rankings, and earns a spot for the World Cup finals in Bormio, Italy. Only the top-25 in each discipline get to compete at the finals, as well as athletes that have earned at least 400 points.