In what would have otherwise been a disappointing weekend for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, Canmores Thomas Grandi once again saved the day with yet another top-10 finish in a slalom in St. Anton, Austria on Sunday.
The Sonnenweise course is challenging at the best of times, and some fog in the first run didnt make it any easier for the 31-year-old veteran. Still, the skies cleared for the second run, and more than 10,000 fans were there to watch an incredibly tight contest.
"It was an awesome race," said Grandi. "It feels good to finish after two DNFs (the week before). Its good to be top-10.
"I think I skied pretty well both runs, but I made mistakes both runs. I was this close to making it through clean. If I hadnt tipped that gate I think I could have made up the three-tenths (of a second) that I lost and maybe made the podium. Seventh place was just four one-hundred ahead."
The race was as close as they get with just 0.48 seconds separating Grandis 10 th place finish from first place. He was just 0.34 seconds back of bronze.
Bode Miller of the U.S. took the gold medal, followed by Kalle Palander of Finland and Mario Matt of Austria.
Whistlers Mike Janyk came close to qualifying for the second run with a 33 rd place finish after his first run.
"Its my best performance on the World Cup this year," said Janyk. "I was skiing fast in Adelboden after I hiked (after going off course), but this is the best total run. Im taking the steps, Im training fast and each World Cup I get better. Im ready to throw one in there next time."
Julien Cousineau also failed to qualify after nearly going off course with just four gates left until the bottom.
JP Roy also missed qualifying after hitting a rut and falling.
The day before the Canadians had a rough time in the St. Anton downhill with both Vincent Lavoie of Cap Rouge, Quebec and David Anderson of Rossland not finishing the race.
Lavoie was on pace for another top-30 result, 1.7 seconds behind the leader, when he went off course just four gates from the finish. He says the long steep course got the better of his legs, forcing a mistake.
Anderson also went off course near the bottom, but hopes to redeem himself this weekend at a Nor Am race in Montana. He currently holds the lead of the mens Nor Am downhill and super G standings.
The World Cup downhill went to a resurgent Hermann Maier of Austria, followed by teammates Stephan Eberharter and Johann Grugger. All told the Austrians claimed seven out of the top-10 positions.