The FIS Alpine World Cup season got off to a shaky start at Soelden, Austria last weekend with only one of two scheduled events taking place.
The women's giant slalom took place on Saturday, Oct. 23 on a mix of natural and man-made snow. Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon led the way for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team with a 13th place finish. She was 22nd after the first run but posted the second-fastest time on the second run to move up nine spots. Gagnon said that was a first for her.
"It's good to feel like I am back, I struggled a bit last year and to get a solid result at the start of the season like this, it feels good," she said.
"Of course, no run is perfect. I was thinking after the race about how I could have easily been faster on the flats. That's what I am going to be taking from today that I am going to work on."
The winner was a surprise, with Germany's Viktoria Rosenberg claiming her first career World Cup by almost half a second. Teammate Kathrin Hoelzl placed second, while Manuela Moelgg of Italy was third.
No other Canadians qualified for a second run. Victoria Stevens placed 51st in her first run, well back of the top-30, while Marie-Pier Prefontaine was one of a dozen athletes who didn't finish the first run.
The women's team competes next in a slalom event at Levi, Finland in mid-November.
The men were scheduled to race GS on Sunday, but the organizers were forced to pull the plug on the second run when fog rolled onto the course - a decision that likely had the Canadian team breathing a sigh of relief. There were six Canadians entered in the race, none of whom had qualified to race in the second run. Jean-Philippe Roy came closest, placing 42 nd in the first run. Whistler's Robbie Dixon in 49th, Francois Bourque 50th and Dustin Cook 65th. Manuel-Osborne Paradis did not finish the first run and Erik Guay had to pull out with a minor calf injury.
The men's slalom team will be heading to Levi, Finland for the slalom opener Nov. 13, while the rest of the team will be returning home to Canada to prepare for the opening of the speed season at Lake Louise Winterstart on Nov. 24.