While the Canadian mens speed team tested their edges at Lake Louise last weekend, the womens technical team was busy establishing themselves as contenders in giant slalom and slalom World Cup events at Aspen, Colorado.
With strong winds and blowing snow playing havoc with preparations, the race officials were forced to scrap the morning warm-up run. Skiing the Lower Ruthies Run blind, three Canadians managed to put together back-to-back runs to finish in the top-20.
Nanaimos Allison Forsyth, after missing most of last season with tendonitis in her hips, made the most of her West Coast upbringing to shrug off the challenging conditions and finish 11 th . As the 2003 bronze medallist in the world championship GS Forsyth hoped for more in Aspen, but knew she had more recovering to do.
"I didnt let the skis run the second run, I held back," she said. "I didnt intend to but one turn threw me off and thats what ended up happening. Two runs wins a race. One and a half doesnt, but itll come. I just have to be patient but its hard at the moment."
Gail Kelly of Ste-Anges de Beauce, Quebec, and Genevieve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec had better second runs than Forsyth, posting the third and fourth fastest runs respectively.
Simard moved from 23 rd place after the first run to 17 th , while Kelly moved from 24 th place to 19 th .
Kelly got off to a strong start this year at Soelden, Austria, finishing 11 th after posting the fastest second run of the day. She was under pressure to prove to herself that it wasnt a fluke.
"Im happy that I substantiated my result from Soelden," she said. "I wont hide the fact that I was nervous coming into todays race. I had a lot of butterflies in my stomach, not because its a World Cup race but because I really wanted to back my result."
Finlands Tanja Poutiainen won the race, followed by Anja Paerson of Sweden and Janica Kostelic of Croatia.
Whistlers Britt Janyk, Brigitte Acton and Ann Goodman failed to qualify for a second run on Friday, but Janyk still had something to prove in Aspen.
On Saturday, the 24-year-old shook off her slump in the slalom event with a 19 th place finish her first top-30 in the discipline in more than 10 months. Right now the slalom is probably the most competitive event on the womens World Cup circuit, and the Canadians only have two berths in the discipline. One of them belonged to Janyk, who easily won the national slalom title the last two years running and is frequently on the podium in Europa Cup and Nor Am Cup competitions. But 10 months of disappointing slalom results meant she was in danger of losing her World Cup slalom berth until she came through at Aspen.
"Slalom is one of the toughest events to start out of the top-30 and crack in there," she said. "So I just have to keep stepping forward and getting my bib number higher and keep getting into that top-30. Theres such a difference starting number one compared to number 46."
Following the race the womens technical team headed to Winter Park in Colorado for Nor Am Cup slalom and giant slalom events.