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Fleckenstein, Thompson tops at nationals

WMSC skiers impressive in Lake Louise

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Broderick Thompson and Stefanie Fleckenstein represented Whistler well in Alberta.

The Whistler Mountain Ski Club alums topped the downhill podiums at the 2017 Sport Chek Canadian Championships in Lake Louise on Dec. 9.

Fleckenstein, who is on Alpine Canada Alpin's (ACA) development team, had raced the FIS World Cup in Lake Louise the weekend prior and took that familiarity with the course into the national race. Fleckenstein, 19, topped American Alice Merryweather by 0.08 seconds while B.C. Ski Team member Soleil Patterson of Red Mountain was a full 1.29 seconds off the pace.

Fleckenstein said she was happy to make the jump to the top after earning the runner-up position in last season's downhill championships.

"Today was an awesome day and I'm really happy with the win," Fleckenstein told ACA after the race. "Coming in second-place at last year's Canadian Championships, there was only one spot to go but up! I think racing the World Cup last weekend was really helpful in building my confidence. I was able to test out new lines, which didn't work yesterday, but worked today! I'm now heading to Panorama for the next Nor-Am Cup race series."

Thompson's nationals performance paralleled Fleckenstein's, as he was also the second-place finisher in 2015-16. At Lake Louise, he edged out teammate Tyler Werry by 0.37 seconds and American Nicholas Krause by 0.49 seconds.

"I felt really focused in the gate today and I wanted to put it all on the line and leave nothing on the track," Thompson told ACA. "I was really happy with the outcome and super excited to take home the Canadian downhill title today."

Read hits Top 10 again

Two weekends, two new personal bests for Erik Read.

The Calgarian scored an eighth-place finish in Val d'Isere, France in the giant slalom on Dec. 10, shooting up from 21st after the first run into the Top 10.

"Last weekend was one thing but to get in there again and actually better my result is incredible!" Read told ACA. "The good news is that I'll start in the top 30 for the next World Cup races, which I look forward to capitalizing on."

In total, Read was 2.03 seconds back of France's Alexis Pinturault, while Austria's Marcel Hirscher and Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen shared the podium. Read was the lone Canadian to make the final on the steep 'La Face' course in France.

No Canadians made the final in the Dec. 11 slalom race.

In women's action in Sestriere, Italy, Marie-Michele Gagnon was the lone Canadian to make the finals, placing 21st. Gagnon was 2.62 seconds behind winner Tessa Worley of France. Erin Mielzynski was in a similar position the next day, placing 21st in the slalom event, 4.38 seconds behind American Mikaela Shiffrin.

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