By Andrew Mitchell
Whistler’s Mike Janyk led the Canadian men’s technical team in Levi, Finland this past weekend, as the 2006-07 alpine World Cup season officially got underway.
Janyk posted two strong runs to place seventh with a time of 1:43:58, just 0.7 seconds off of a place on the podium.
Teammate Thomas Grandi — wearing bib number one — placed eighth by just one-hundredth of a second. Patrick Biggs of Ottawa placed 19 th , an impressive feat given the fact he started the race from the 53 rd position and had to contend with a rough track. Paul Stutz of Banff just missed a second run, after placing outside the top-30 in 31 st position. Jean-Philippe Roy and Scott Barrett, the other two Canadian men, did not finish their first runs.
“It’s a strong start for the team, close to having four guys in the top-30,” said Paul Kristofic, men’s team head coach. “It’s important to start strong and get the momentum going early in the season. The other groups within the Canadian Alpine Ski Team can feed off these results; it challenges everyone to step up to the plate.”
Austria’s Benjamin Raich took the top spot, followed by Markus Larsson of Sweden and Giorgio Rocca of Italy.
The women’s team was not as successful, with only Brigitte Acton of Mont-Tremblant representing Canada. She did not finish her first run.
It was an Austrian podium sweep in the women’s race, with Marlies Schild first, Nicole Hosp second and Kathrin Zettel third.
The next women’s technical competitions are in Aspen, Colorado, with slalom and giant slalom races on Nov. 25-26. The opening men’s speed events are at Lake Louise on the same weekend, with the women’s speed season kicking off the following weekend, Dec. 1-3 at Lake Louise.