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Stutz lone Canadian to earn points in Austria

World Cup season off to slow start for Canadian technical skiers

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Banff’s Paul Stutz was the only Canadian to score World Cup points from men’s and women’s slalom races in Reiteralm, Austria last weekend, earning three points for a 28 th place finish.

Technical events in Austria haven’t been fruitful for the Canadian team so far this season; Francois Bourque was the only Canadian to score points in a pair of giant slaloms in Solden last month. However, the World Cup circuit moves to Western Canada Nov. 24-25 for speed events at Lake Louise and technical races at Panorama, which should boost results and team morale.

Stutz won back to back FIS races on short courses in Landgraaf, Netherlands Nov. 8 and 9, but he was more than three seconds behind Swiss winner Marc Gini at Reiteralm. It was the first World Cup win for the 23-year-old Gini, who finished in a combined time of one minute, 53.49 seconds.

Finnish veteran Kalle Palander was second in 1:53.77, while Italian Manfred Moelgg was third in 1:53.99. Stutz’s combined time was 1:56.97.

Two other Canadians, Ryan Semple and Jean-Phillippe Roy, did not finish their first runs.

It’s been a slow, frustrating start to the season for Alpine Canada, with several athletes recovering from injuries at the start of a winter that will see 10 World Cup races in Western Canada, including four events that will test Whistler’s Olympic courses in February.

Whistler’s Michael Janyk, who was second in a World Cup slalom last December and finished the season ranked seventh in the world in slalom, is recovering from a back injury and may be ready for the next slalom, in Austria in mid-December.

Mont Tremblant’s Erik Guay is also recovering from a back injury and hopes to be ready for the men’s speed events at Lake Louise. Guay was the top Canadian ski racer last year, winning a World Cup downhill and notching four other podium appearances.

On the women’s side, Genevieve Simard is recovering from knee surgery that is expected to keep her off skis all season. Allison Forsyth, who missed all of last season due to a knee injury, was sent home after her knee proved too painful to ski on in Austria. And Kelly VanderBeek broke her wrist while training on the Farnham Glacier in B.C. in October. She may be ready for the speed events at Lake Louise Dec. 1-2.

So it was a young, inexperienced team of two Canada sent to the women’s slalom in Reiteralm last weekend. Neither Brigitte Acton nor Anna Goodman qualified for the second run, finishing 37 th and 39 th respectively in the first run.

The race was won by Marlies Schild of Austria in 1:55.53. Teammate Nicole Hosp was second in 1:55.59, while Italian Chiara Costazza was third in 1:55.83.

The two slalom races in Reiteralm were originally scheduled for Levi, Finland but were moved due to lack of snow in Finland.

Prior to the World Cup races at Panorama and Lake Louise Nov. 24-25 some of the male members of the Canadian team will be competing in Nor-Am technical events in Keystone, Colorado Nov. 17-20.

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