Quebec’s Erik Guay snapped out of his medal drought this past weekend at Beaver Creek, Colorado, placing third in the opening downhill race.
While he’s raced consistently in the top-30, Guay’s last podium appearance was a bronze super G medal at the end of the 2006-07 season. He missed the podium last year, but managed to finish in the top-five three different times while also improving his results in giant slalom — a new discipline for Guay on the World Cup circuit.
The Beaver Creek medal came one week after the 27-year-old Guay finished 10 th and seventh in downhill and super G races at Lake Louise, even as commentators were wondering if impending fatherhood might be distraction for the young skier this season.
Aksel Lund Svindal was first in the downhill, just 0.06 seconds ahead of Marco Buechel of Liechtenstein. Rounding out the top-30 for Canada, Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumni Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Robbie Dixon were 23 rd and 24 th respectively. John Kucera, who won Canada’s first medal of the season the previous week in the SG, was just out of the points in 32 nd place.
“It feels good to be back on the podium for sure,” said Guay. “Last week I was just sort of finding my race legs. It’s always tough at the beginning of the season seeing where you are stacking up in this competition when you haven’t been there for six or seven months.
“I don’t think it was a mental hurdle or mental block. I mean, finishing fourth isn’t the end of the world, sometimes it is just a couple of hundredths here and there. But it feels good to be back on the podium.”
Guay said he still had more work to do on his form, which he said didn’t feel completely natural yet. “I have some times when I am skiing very well but sometimes I go back to my old habits,” he said.
Erick Guay followed up with a 13 th place finish in the super G, while Kucera finished sixth. The win went again to Svindal of Norway, followed by Austria’s Hermann Maier and Michael Walchhofer.
In the final giant slalom race, Benjamin Raich of Austria broke his own medal drought to take the win, followed by American skier Ted Ligety and Svindal, making his third podium appearance of the weekend to take the lead in the overall standings.
The only Canadian to make two runs was Jean-Philipe Roy, who finished in 21 st place. The other Canadians did not qualify for the second run.