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Seger 16th at Kitzbuhel

WMSC alum sets new World Cup personal best



Brodie Seger will always remember how he earned his first World Cup points.

In Jan. 25 downhill action at the famed Kitzbuhel, Austria track, the Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) alumnus hit the top 20 with a sweet-16 finish.

The 23-year-old finished in a two-run time of one minute, 58.37 seconds (1:58.37), 1.55 seconds back of winner Dominik Paris of Italy. Switzerland's Beat Feuz (0.20 seconds back) and Austria's Otmar Streidinger (0.37 seconds back) also hit the podium.

Seger's previous World Cup best was a 43rd-place showing in the downhill at Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany last January.

"Oh man, it's hard to describe the feeling, first of all, seeing the number on the board and realizing that I just got my first World Cup points," Seger said from Innsbruck on Jan. 28. "Also, that it was on that hill was incredible. It's such a wild hill and I'm really proud that I was able to fight my way down on that hill of all places."

Seger described the atmosphere at the races as different from other stops, as there is an additional excitement around the races with fans arriving in the early-morning hours to seek autographs.

Perhaps it's because that with an average grade of 27 degrees and a maximum angle of 85 degrees on course, it's a challenge for racers to get down safely. In his third trip to the track, Seger prepared by participating in the European Cup race the weekend prior, which he credited for his World Cup success.

"We got a bit more mileage on that course. It was quite icy and bumpy this year, so that extra mileage really came in handy when it came to the World Cup week," he said. "I was really trying to trust in my skiing and ski solid, not do anything crazy. You never know what that course is going to throw at you. I was fighting my way down and I still had a couple mistakes. I'm happy with the way I was able to keep pushing all the way to the finish line."

Completing a flawless run is near impossible, Seger recalled, as the speeds racers accumulate combined with the steep terrain, so he'll gladly take a flub here or there as long as he stayed upright.

"You're getting tossed around on the way down and it can be difficult to see sometimes. You just have to keep fighting for your position and fighting to attack the course," he said. "It's a wild ride because of that. It feels like you're always on the edge and you just have to keep pushing even though it feels like you're all over the place. Often, it looks a lot more solid than it feels.

"You watch yourself on video and see yourself get a little bit rocked and you don't remember it because you're in the zone. You're just so focused on what you have to do next."

In other good news for Canada, Ben Thomsen continued his stellar season with a sixth-place showing, 1.06 seconds back of Paris. It was his best result in a downhill since 2012. Fellow WMSC alum Jack Crawford posted his top World Cup downhill finish with a 32nd.

In the Jan. 27 super-G, Dustin Cook was the top Canadian in 23rd, with Thomsen finishing 27th, Seger 33rd, Crawford 36th and Jeffrey Read 44th. Germany's Josef Ferstl nicked France's Johan Clarey and Italy's Paris for the win.

No Canadians completed the slalom on Jan. 26. France's Clement Noel earned the victory over Austria's Marcel Hirscher and fellow Frenchman Alexis Pinturault.

With the team now off to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Seger hopes to keep his momentum pushing forward.

"It's a confirmation that I have the ability to be in the points. I've known all along that my skiing was there and I've just been looking to put it together on race day," he said.

Gagnon 34th at Garmisch

The Canadian women competed at Garmisch this past weekend.

Marie-Michele Gagnon posted the only result, with a 34th-place showing in the Jan. 26 super-G. Austria's Nicole Schmidhofer knocked off Italy's Sofia Goggia and Switzerland's Lara Gut-Behrami for the win.

In the Jan. 27 downhill, Austria's Stephanie Venier emerged victorious over Goggia and Germany's Kira Weidle.