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Osborne-Paradis bests 'nemesis'

Alpine Canada veteran seeks better results after 15th-place showing at Beaver Creek

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In his second-best performance at Beaver Creek, Colo. since hitting the FIS World Cup circuit, Manny Osborne-Paradis acknowledged he was somewhat disappointed in the result.

Osborne-Paradis placed 15th in the downhill on Dec. 2 as he put up his best showing at one of the toughest courses, on a personal level, since he placed fourth there in 2013, though he notes that race was not on the traditional men's downhill track. Even as a junior, he only had one higher result, taking 14th in a super-G race on the NorAm Cup circuit in 2002.

Though his hard numbers seem solid early in the season, as Osborne-Paradis put up a 30th in the super-G in Beaver Creek and was 20th in the Lake Louise, Alta. downhill late last month, he still feels he has room to grow this season.

"I feel like I was actually skiing better than what my results have shown. I was definitely hoping for higher," he said. "You need to be consistent to get results and consistency also helps with your world rankings at the end of the year.

"I almost am a little disappointed with my results but I've just been on the wrong side of the tenths. Two- or three-tenths faster and I'd be a lot of positions higher."

In the downhill, Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal earned the win, followed by Switzerland's Beat Feuz and Germany's Thomas Dressen. In the super-G, Austria's Vincent Kriechmayr topped the podium, followed by Norway's Kjetil Jansrud and fellow Austrian Hannes Reichelt.

All told, though, the 33-year-old Whistler Mountain Ski Club alum was happy to place well at a course that tends to sap his talents.

"Beaver Creek probably diminishes my ability the most out of any course," he said. "To get a top-15 there is a good sign for how I'm skiing.

"It was one of my better results at Beaver Creek. I made a silly mistake at the bottom and it was costly. There goes a top 10."

As Osborne-Paradis prepares to continue the campaign overseas, he'll look to secure his first podium appearance since placing second in the Kvitfjell, Norway downhill in 2015.

"I'm looking forward to racing all the other races. Everything has got something that suits my style and I really enjoy being in Europe. It's just the culture and the fans and everything," he said. "They live and breathe ski racing over there and I just like to take it all in."

Osborne-Paradis noted the season is taking awhile to ramp up as he and his fellow competitors look to reach their performance pinnacles in February at the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

This year, the ski racers reined in their training in the early autumn, eschewing October training in hopes of perfection later in the season, a tactic many other teams employed as well.

"We did that on purpose, kind of like how we started the season last year where we're building toward the Olympics and peaking. We did this last year to build up and peak at World Championships. It's just tough because you plan on doing something like that and then you start the season behind the eight ball a little bit and wonder 'Why wasn't I doing better?'

"You really have to trust in your programming and your systems that hopefully it all works out."

Osborne-Paradis added it's difficult to ski at a top level through the entire year, so any way to push back the wear and tear while finding his best condition is the goal.

"You have to be at the top of your game and it's not always something that can be done," he said.

In the summer, Osborne-Paradis said he concentrated on feeling more confident on his skis, finding ways to develop more speed in corners and determining how to gamble on-course.

"(You're finding) which risks you can take and which risks you can't make," he explained. "I think I did all of that fairly well."

Also in Beaver Creek, Whistler's Broderick Thompson placed 23rd in the downhill while Benjamin Thomsen took 44th, Jack Crawford was 53rd and Tyler Werry placed 66th. In the Dec. 1 super-G, the top Canadian was Dustin Cook in 20th, while Crawford took 32nd and Whistler's Brodie Seger placed 51st.

Canada's best result came in the giant slalom on Dec. 3 as Trevor Philp placed 11th and was the lone Canuck to finish. Austria's Marcel Hirscher topped the field, followed by Norway's Henrik Kristoffersen and Germany's Stefan Luitz.

The women, meanwhile, were in action in Lake Louise, Alta. The week started with bad news as Marie-Michele Gagnon crashed in training, dislocating her left shoulder and tearing the ACL in her right knee. She will miss the rest of the 2017-18 season.

On-course, in the Dec. 1 downhill, Valerie Grenier was Canada's top performer in 32nd while WMSC alum Stefanie Fleckenstein placed 43rd and Mikaela Tommy took 49th. Austria's Cornelia Huetter scored the win, followed by Liechtenstein's Tina Weirather and American Mikaela Shiffrin.

On Dec. 2 in a second downhill, Canada's Roni Remme placed 42nd while Fleckenstein was 46th and Tommy was 47th. Shiffrin earned the win while Germany's Viktoria Rebensburg was second and Switzerland's Michelle Gisin took third.

Lastly, on Dec. 3, Grenier took 26th and Tommy placed 37th in the super-G. Weirather took the win, edging Switzerland's Lara Gut and Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer.

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