Mike Janyk needs a good result this weekend in Slovenia, not just to make it to the season finals in Switzerland, but to extend his career by one more World Cup race.
The 10-year veteran of the Canadian alpine team exclusively told Pique on Monday, March 3 that he is planning to retire at the end of the season.
Though the Whistler skier said he will make a more formal announcement later this month, Janyk said he came to the decision while at home in the weeks before the Olympics.
"I was home with the intention to find the fire, head back on the road ready to rip in Sochi and the rest of the season, to build me up for the next year," said the 31-year-old in an email. "Instead... what came was a clear decision that now is the right time for me to retire from ski racing.
"I've always heard people say you know it's (the right time) when you know, and I never understood how that is possible. Well, I understand now... as this is how it feels, very right."
After racing the men's slalom in Sochi, the three-time Olympian announced he would not be making a run at the 2018 Games, but didn't give any other details about his future at the time. Janyk said he didn't announce his retirement plans then because he hadn't had a chance to discuss the decision with Alpine Canada staff. Only his mother and girlfriend were aware of his intentions before he left for Sochi.
The 2009 world championship bronze medallist said he'll address his future plans further when the Canadian Alpine Championships take place in Whistler later this month.
However, Janyk noted that the Olympics were an emotional time for him, knowing his career is coming to a close. He said his 16th-place finish in Sochi was somewhat frustrating, since he had been skiing quickly in training, but his last trip to the Olympics was a memorable one.
"The whole Olympics experience was unbelievable and in all the Games I competed in, I truly felt the spirit of Canada behind me from all my supporters," he said. It was an incredible honour representing the Maple Leaf in Sochi."
Janyk added that he hopes Jan Hudec's super-G bronze, Canada's first Olympic alpine medal in 20 years, helps inspire a new generation of ski racers to come.
Heading into the World Cup slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, on March 9, Janyk sits 28th in the discipline rankings. Only the top 25-ranked skiers will advance to the following week's World Cup finals at Lenzerheide, Switzerland.
In order to earn a spot on the start list there, Janyk will need to finish 21st or better at Kranjska Gora to have any chance. Since he'll be vying with other skiers on the bubble for the final spots, he'll likely need something in the top 15 to guarantee a berth at finals.
Janyk finished 15th at the venue last season and has two top-20 finishes in World Cup races so far this season.
"My prep heading into Kranjska Gora has been to relax and simply let go to see what comes from me," he said. "This could be my last race, so I will see what comes to me on that day and my hopes are to put down some great runs to bring me to finals in Lenzerheide.
"I'm prepared as I'll ever be for this race and I will enjoy the moment."