By Andrew Mitchell
It was a good weekend for Whistler on the World Cup circuit, with Britt and Michael Janyk leading the way for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team in their respective events.
Following an accelerated schedule due to the number of World Cup events affected by the lack of snow, the women’s speed team spent a busy weekend in San Sicario, Italy with a super G, downhill and another super G in just three days.
Britt Janyk led the way in the first super G on Friday, placing fourth and missing her first World Cup podium by three one-hundredths of a second. As it was fourth was her best career result, after a fifth place in giant slalom in 2003.
“I was in the leader booth from very early in the race, and kept seeing the best in the world go by over my time,” she said. “I almost saw myself on the podium, but a fourth place is not that bad at all.”
This season, Britt was bumped back from the national team to the development team following three difficult years on the technical circuit. That demotion meant she had to pay Alpine Canada $25,000 to be able to train and compete with the national team. And, boosted by strong results at last year’s nationals in the speed disciplines, Janyk gambled with a switch to the speed squad.
All those questions at the start of the season now seem to have been answered. Her fourth place finish at San Sicario qualified her for the Alpine World Championships, in super G and downhill. It also means Alpine Canada will refund 80 per cent of her training fee.
While she has yet to podium, Janyk has been very consistent in speed events this season. Leading up to her fourth place finish on Friday, Janyk has placed in the top-30 nine times, or in all but two events.
Boosting the team, Kelly VanderBeek of Chilliwack placed fifth, just one-one hundredth of a second back of Janyk.
“It wasn’t a perfect run but it was a pretty good run,” said VanderBeek. “I was so pumped for Britt. I knew she was right on top so it motivated me to push even more.”
VanderBeek was fourth in the Olympic super G last year at San Sicario, missing the podium by one one-hundredth of a second.
Friday’s win went to Renate Goetschl of Austria, followed by Lindsey Kildow of the U.S. Austria’s Christine Sponring, one of the last skiers on course, bumped Janyk out of the bronze medal position.