Austrian Wolfgang Kindl is, admittedly, at a disadvantage when the Viessmann FIL World Cup comes to the Whistler Sliding Centre.
Hindered by start times in the lower half of the pack, Kindl still managed to post the best times in both runs en route to victory on Friday night. Kindl's two-run time of one minute, 39.774 seconds (1:39.774) bested German Felix Loch by 0.099 seconds and fellow Austrian Reinhard Egger by 0.127 seconds.
The defending world champion said his strategy is to keep the gaps between the field and himself minimal out of the gate so he can quickly play catch-up.
"It's not easy, because I'm not the fastest starter," he said. "I know that I'm really fast in the flats because I'm aerodynamic (in that section)."
On a day when track records were smashed-19 of the race's 64 runs were quicker than the previous best-Kindl's first-run of 49.837 is the new standard.
"To get the track record was nice," he said. "I didn't really expect it because of the fog today, but the track was really good until the end."
Whistler sliders Reid Watts and Matt Riddle finished 22nd and 25th, respectively.
Eggert, Benecken top doubles race
Even the best need a little luck sometimes.
Defending world champions Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken of Germany weren't entirely enthused on their runs during doubles action on Friday afternoon, but the duo still managed to come away with the win with a time of 1:16.691.
"It was not an easy race," Eggert said, citing the close times between the final finishers. "In our second run, in the exit of 16, we had a knock ... today, we had luck on our side."
As part of a German podium sweep, Robin Johannes Geueke and David Gamm (0.019 seconds back) took second and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt (0.029 back) were third. Wendl and Arlt set the new track record in their second run with a time of 38.292 seconds.
While Eggert and Benecken were relatively consistent, the team they were chasing after the first run-Austria's Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller-dropped all the way off the podium into fourth.
"We were really motivated, because we had a not-perfect run in the first run. We know we were maximum motivated to fly down," Eggert said. "The other guys also had a mistake and we are first."
Canadians Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were disappointed with a fifth-place finish, 0.184 seconds back, which Walker attributed in part to a spike from his glove snapping off as they were getting set to launch their first run, which was a major drain on their time.
"When you look at those times, 18 hundredths from fifth place to the gold medal, we know we had over a tenth of mistakes in our first run, for sure," Walker said. "There was an equipment malfunction. That happens every once in awhile and there's not really a lot you can do about that.
"There was also a small driving error at the bottom."
In coming races, Walker said he and Snith will draw on the improvements they made in Run 2, as a carbon copy of it would have established them as contenders.
"That one really showed that we can be in the running for the medals, for sure," he said. "