The Canadian Alpine Ski Team has a strong slalom team with athletes regularly placing in the top 10, but it has had trouble turning that strength and consistency into podiums.
At the opening slalom of the World Cup season at Beaver Creek, Colorado, three Canadians placed in the top 20 — Brad Spence in 15th, Julien Cousineau in 17th and Whistler's Mike Janyk in 19th. While it's a promising start, the athletes were looking for more.
"To see that we all stack up so close is kinda cool," said Spence. "I just hope that later on in the year we can get a 1-2-3 (podium).
"On the first run I think I was holding on a little bit. I was a little nervous, with it being the first World Cup of the year, and I wasn't too happy with how I finished."
Janyk was also able to bounce back. "First run, I felt uncomfortable with my skis with the snow conditions. I just made the wrong call with what skis to go on," he said.
"Second run was a different story. I felt like I could really fly, let go and I had a great run."
Janyk was 27th after the first run, then had the third-fastest second run of the day. Spence had the second fastest second run.
The slalom race replaced the event that was cancelled at Val d'Isere, France two weeks ago due to the lack of snow. Women's speed events that were scheduled for Val d'Isere were also cancelled and will be rescheduled.
The next events on the calendar are the men's downhill and super G races at Val Gardena-Groeden, Italy, and the women's technical series at Courchevel, France.
Canada sweeps Nor-Am Cup race
Canada's up and coming skiers had a solid start to the season as the North American Cup series opened at Nakiska, Alberta this past weekend.
Erik Read, son of Crazy Canuck Ken Read, competed in the NorAm Cup on Wednesday, flew to Colorado for his second career World Cup start at Beaver Creek on Thursday, then flew back to Calgary in order to be at the start line for Friday's NorAm Cup super combined race. He placed second in the super combined event, between teammates Trevor Philip and Andy Trow — the team's first podium sweep of the season.
The field was packed with European and Asian skiers with so many events cancelled in Europe due to the lack of snow.
The Whistler athletes in that race, representing the B.C. Ski Team and Whistler Mountain Ski Club, were Blake Ramsden in 32nd, Ford Swette in 39th, Brodie Seger in 46th, Charlie Renzoni in 51st, Austin Llewellyn in 53rd, Ben Bethune in 55th and Daniel Kwong in 56th.
In the opening super G of the week, Americans Erik Fisher and Ryan Cochran-Siegle tied for first, with Philipp Zepnik of Germany in third. Canada's Ryan Semple led the Canadians in sixth.
From Whistler, Morgan Pridy was 21st, Broderick Thompson 34th, Ford Swette 53rd, Daniel Kwong 57th, Blake Ramsden 60th and Ben Bethune 65th.
Russian skiers Maria Bedareva and Elena Prosteva were first and second in the women's super G, followed by Greta Small of Australia.
Madison Irwin was the top Canadian in fourth. Whistler skiers in the race were Jocelyn Ramsden in 15th, Kailee Darlington in 30th, Sofi Leroux in 32nd, Emma King in 34th and Rae Swette in 44th.
In the second super G it was American Ryan Cochran-Siegle in first, followed by Canada's Dustin Cook and Wiley Maple of the U.S.
The top Whistler skier was Conrad Pridy in 22nd. Morgan Pridy was 34th, Broderick Thompson 60th, Brodie Seger 82nd, Ford Swette 85th, Blake Ramsden 86th, Charlie Renzoni 91st, Austin Llewellyn 93rd and Ben Bethune 96th.
In the women's super combined, Elena Prosteva of Russia was the top skier in the downhill and sixth fastest in the slalom to place first overall. Madison Irwin was the top Canadian in second, with Anna Sorokina of Russia in third.
The top Whistler skier was Charley Field in 21st, with Kailee Darlington in 30th, Emma King in 31st, Jocelyn Ramsden in 36th and Rae Swette in 38th.
The NorAm Cup series continued this week with events in Panorama from Sunday to Friday.
Erik Read was first overall in the opening super G, followed by Tomaz Sovic of Slovenia and Anton Lindebner of Germany. Morgan Pridy was the top Whistler skier in 10th. Ford Swette was 56th, Blake Ramsden 68th and Brodie Seger 76th.
Larisa Yurkiw, a national team member on the comeback trail after being injured since December 2009, won the women's super G race, followed by teammate Marie-Pier Prefontaine. Abby Ghent of the U.S. placed third.
Madison McLeish led the Whistler skiers in the race in 13th. Jocelyn Ramsden was 32nd, Emma King 39th and Sofi Leroux 50th.
Results will be posted as available at www.alpinecanada.org.