Just when you thought the European skiers had a stranglehold on the World Cup top 10, Melanie Turgeon of Beauport, Quebec, crossed the finish line in seventh place at the first of two Lake Louise downhills.
At the Nov. 30 race, the 24-year-old Turgeon crossed the line with a time of 1 minute 35.81 seconds, just over a second back of first place Petra Haltmayer of Germany. Isolde Kostner of Italy finished second, followed by Austrias Renate Goetschl.
Turgeon ended Canadas six-year gold medal drought on the World Cup circuit with a huge super-G victory at Innsbruck, Austria, last February.
"Im happy with a seventh place finish," said Turgeon, who had a sore back on the day of the competition. "I reached my goal of being in the top 10. I was not quite 100 per cent ready, but I focused on what I wanted to do for the two minutes I needed to be on the course."
Fernies Emily Brydon also turned in an outstanding performance, finishing 16 th . The other Canadians, Anne Marie LeFrancois, Whistlers Britt Janyk and Sara-Maude Boucher finished 27 th , 37 th and 41 st respectively.
Turgeon was not finished however. The next day she narrowly missed another top 10 finish by finishing two one-hundredths of a second behind Pela Bracun of Slovakia and Kirsten Clark of the U.S., who tied for ninth.
Kostner won that event by a comfortable margin over Carole Montillet of France and Corinne Rey Bellet of Switzerland.
Brydon moved up in the standings with a 14 th place finish. LeFrancois finished 32 nd .
"We showed people that we are strong," said Brydon, who made her mark on the international scene last season after winning the combined event at the World Junior Championships. "Now well go to Europe together and try to beat the Euros."
Brydon credits Turgeons influence for her strong World Cup debut. "I always looked up to her and followed her," said the 20 year old. "Now that I compete with her, we feed off each other. I think it works for both of us."
In the super-G, the final event of the of weekend, Turgeon once again missed a spot in the top 10, this time by one-tenth of a second. Brydon was 14 th .
"Its the best week a Canadian womens team has had in so many years," said Turgeon. "There is definitely a lot of optimism. Allison (Forsyth) is technically good and Emily (Brydon) is with us in speed. Its a deeper team than it used to be."
Renate Goetschl of Austria won the super-G, followed by Regine Cavagnoud of France and Germanys Martina Ertl.
For Canada, Boucher, Forsyth, Janyk and LeFrancois finished 35 th , 41 st , 51 st and 52 nd respectively.
For the record
Last week Pique Newsmagazine reported that Brydon finished 14 th in a World Cup super G at Aspen. In fact she was ninth.