Although there wasnt a medal in it for them this year, members of the Canadian Alpine Ski Team can still hold their heads high after a two-race World Cup series at Lake Louise last weekend.
Two Canadian men Jan Hudec and Erik Guay finished in the top 15 of the downhill on Saturday, and Guay was in the top-30 of the super giant slalom on Sunday.
Hudec was the surprise of the weekend, finishing eighth in the downhill from the 62 nd start position.
"This was unbelievable, I was going for top-20 which would have been awesome," said Hudec. "When they said I was eighth I thought it was a joke. It was awesome to have this result in front of all my friends and family."
With Austrias Stephan Eberharter retiring this fall after years as one of the most dominant speed racers on the World Cup scene and past Lake Louise events, the competition was wide open. Racing fans no doubt expected to see fellow Austrian Hermann Maier back on top of the podium, completing his comeback after almost losing his leg in a motorcycle accident in 2001, but it was American Bode Millers time to declare his supremacy.
Not only did Miller take the downhill gold medal by almost an entire second in a competition where less than a second separated second place from 10 th place he came back the next day to win the super G as well. The victories were Millers first in downhill and super G and moved the 27 year old into an elite group, as he became only the fifth skier in history to record World Cup victories in all four alpine skiing disciplines.
Canadas hopes seemed to rest on the shoulders of Mont Tremblants Guay, who finished second in last years downhill at Lake Louise. Although he missed the rest of the season after injuring his knee in training just two weeks after his silver medal performance, the 23-year-old proved last weekend he was back in form with a second place finish in training earlier in the week.
Guay, starting 29 th , finished 15 th Saturday. He was hoping for better but said he was happy with the result.
"It was the first race of the year and I showed that I can ski with the best and that I can still be competitive after my injury," he said. "It was my goal to finish in the top-20 and I achieved that. Every race I try to get better but Im not at my best right now. When you place with the best skiers in the world you realize you can ski as well as they can."