Manuel Osborne-Paradis entered the 2016-17 season with a number of accomplishments under his belt.
But he lacked a World Championships podium appearance and the medal that goes with it.
The Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus changed all that on his 33rd birthday this year, earning a bronze in the super-G at the FIS World Ski Championships in St. Moritz, Switzerland, on Feb. 8.
While his next race in his premier event of downhill didn't go so well, with a 31st-place finish, Osborne-Paradis acknowledged he'll take the trade-off.
"I'd take a third and a last over two fifths," he said.
The downhill race provided some unfortunate circumstances, as the course deteriorated before Osborne-Paradis had the chance to descend.
"I had the second-worst start number... but that's outdoor racing for you," he said.
Heading into this year, his previous best World Championships result was a ninth in downhill in Are, Sweden, in 2007, and the bronze added to his overall collection, which also includes a super-G silver from the Junior World Ski Championships in Maribor, Slovakia, in 2007. Hitting the podium was also significant for Osborne-Paradis in the context of the Canadian Cowboys group, where veterans like Erik Guay had secured World Championships medals in prior years.
Overall, Osborne-Paradis was 29th in the alpine World Cup and placed just outside the top 10 in downhill in 11th. A late-season surge with three consecutive top-five downhill finishes (fourth and fifth at Kvitfjell, Norway, and a fourth in Aspen, Colo.) helped him garner enough points to climb the standings, while super-G results of 10th in Kvitfjell and 15th in Aspen were a boon as well.
On a personal level, Osborne-Paradis is looking forward to a quieter summer. It'll be his second after leaving the hustle and bustle of Calgary for the small-town vibe of Invermere.
"I moved out of Calgary back to Invermere. I feel like it's a little more low-key," he said, adding he appreciates living back in the mountains.
As well, this summer, he won't be dealing with an equipment change. Last year, the long-time Rossignol user switched to Head, but had to travel to Europe twice to get his boots fitted properly and spent part of the season adjusting to the change in skis. This year, when he gets to Chile to prepare for 2017-18 — which is especially important in an Olympic year — he hopes he can settle in and set himself up for the best chance to carry over his late-season success from this year.
"It took a lot of mental energy. I was all over the place (last summer)," he said.