Women strong in Europa Cup
It was a busy week for Canadian alpine skiers in Europe, with our national team racers in World Cup and Europa Cup competitions.
The highlight belonged once again to Thomas Grandi, who finished sixth in a World Cup giant slalom at Alta Badia, Italy, shrugging off low visibility on a difficult course. It was the 31-year-old veteran's second sixth place performance in as many weeks.
"I'm way more satisfied in my performance today than last week," said Grandi.
The week before he had to overcome a first run that put him in 25 th place with the fastest second run of the day - it was exciting, but Grandi's goal this year is to be consistent.
"I put together two runs today, something I've had difficulty with in the past. This is a victory for me. I totally solidified my confidence. I know that I belong with the best, and I have no reason to let courses or other racers intimidate me," he said.
None of the other Canadians qualified for a second run.
Earlier in the week, the men's World Cup speed team tackled the downhill course at Val Gardena, Italy without teammate Erik Guay. Guay, who won a silver medal in the downhill at Lake Louise earlier in December, underwent surgery last week after damaging ligaments in his knee during a crash in a downhill training run.
Although none of the other Canadian men qualified in the top-30, Vincent Lavoie of Cap Rouge, Quebec, came closest, finishing in 31 st place.
The women had a lot better luck at St. Moritz, with Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec and Kelly VanderBeek of Kitchener, Ontario, actually tying for 17 th place - a career best for both skiers.
"I'm a rookie in the downhill business," said Simard, 23. "The only thing I can control is just skiing the course."
Meanwhile the technical team participated in Europa Cup races at Pontedilegno, Italy, facing what was basically a World Cup field.
Allison Forsyth of Nanaimo finished third in the super G, and Britt Janyk was 29 th in the slalom.