Broderick Thompson got off to an encouraging start to 2017-18 in front of a friendly, home crowd.
The 23-year-old Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) alumnus took his best-ever FIS World Cup finish in the downhill at the Lake Louise, Alta. event on Nov. 25. His previous best overall was a 27th in the Alpine combined in Chamonix, France in February 2016 while his best downhill result was 40th in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in January.
"I was pretty excited when I got to the finish after putting down a solid run," Thompson said. "Pushing out of the gate on the weekend, I was wanting to put what I'd done in training on the race hill and I feel like I did that pretty well.
"I'm looking forward to the next races."
Thompson posted a two-run time of one minute, 45.80 seconds (1:45.80) to finish 2.04 seconds back of winner Beat Feuz of Switzerland. Austria's Matthias Mayer and Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal rounded out the podium. A fellow WMSC alum, Manny Osborne-Paradis, finished just ahead of Thompson in 20th to earn the top Canadian mantle. Other Canadians included Tyler Werry in 36th, Ben Thomsen in 43rd and WMSC's Jack Crawford in 63rd.
"I had a pretty solid training run and I felt like I could build off of it, stick to my game plan from inspection and really push it with strong skiing and good turns," he said.
On-mountain conditions made it difficult to prepare for the race, as two of the three training days were cancelled in the interest of preserving the course.
"(Conditions) started out a little bit off, but then the Sled Dogs, the course crew there, really managed to pull it together. It ended up being an awesome race in the end," he said.
Thompson said after spending significant amounts of time at Lake Louise as a young skier, including NorAm Cup and national championship events, he felt good on their course. However, it's also one that throws something different at competitors every time out.
"(Familiarity) always makes you a little bit more comfortable, but the set was a little different this year and you're always adapting to course conditions, so every race is a little different and you're adapting all the time," he said. "It definitely helps to be a little more comfortable."
In addition to racing on a mountain he knows well, Thompson's parents and younger sister were there to cheer him on, while the Seger family was also there to watch him as well as their son, Brodie, who made his World Cup debut in the Nov. 26 super-G. Seger, who also grew up in the WMSC, placed 56th. Dustin Cook scored the best Canadian result of the weekend with an 11th while Crawford was 42nd and Osborne-Paradis was 48th.
Thompson spoke to Pique from Colorado where he's getting set for race action in Beaver Creek this weekend.
On the women's side this past weekend, Marie-Michele Gagnon took 24th in the giant slalom in Killington, Vermont on Nov. 25 while Laurence St-Germain was 14th in the slalom on Nov. 26. The women's speed team will hit Lake Louise this weekend with downhill races on Dec. 1 and 2 and a super-G on Dec. 3.