The Canadian Alpine Ski Team couldn't turn Guay's bronze medal in the downhill at Val Gardena, Italy into any kind of streak as the World Cup series resumed after Christmas, although eight different athletes earned points in the top 30.
At the downhill in Bormio, Italy on Dec. 29 - the second-longest track in the world - three Canadians placed in the top 20 with Ben Thomsen leading the team in 15th, and Jan Hudec and Manuel Osborne-Paradis in 17th and 18th respectively. Erik Guay, battling a fever, managed a 24th place finish.
"It went really well but I made a couple of mistakes that were really costly," said Thomsen. "Things are going in the right direction. I'm excited to get home and take a break, and then see how I do in Kitzbuhel (Austria) and Wengen (Switzerland)."
Despite the length of the course the times were extremely close. Italy's Dominik Paris and Hannes Reichelt of Austria settled for a rare tie for first, while Aksel Lund-Svindal edged Austria's Kalus Kroell by one one-hundredth of a second to take bronze.
Whistler's Manuel Osborne-Paradis, who's skiing fast and consistently after missing almost two seasons with injuries, wasn't entirely happy with his run, although he's earned points in every World Cup he's entered this year and placed seventh in Val Gardena - skiing consistently enough to move up the rankings and improve his bib draws.
"It was OK, it wasn't super-clean," he said. "In my training runs I was having a tough go. This is kind of like my first big challenge on a touch course (since my injury). It's not a terrible result. It's risk-reward out there. One day I will put this whole course together."
Meanwhile the women's technical team managed four athletes in the top-30 at the night slalom in Semmering, Austria on Dec. 29. Brittany Phelan placed 16th, the best result of her career, to lead the team, with teammates Erin Mielzynski, Marie-Michele Gagnon and Elli Terwiel in 18th, 20th and 23rd respectively.
It's unknown whether this is the first time four Canadian women have ever finished in the top 30 in a slalom, but if it isn't then it's only happened a few times before.
Whistler's Jim Pollock is coaching the women's technical team this year, and was encouraged by the results.
"We are pretty positive about our future here, starting with the next couple of races," he said. "We are really happy with having four in the top 30. We're really impressed with Britt and Elli. Erin and Mitch (Gagnon's nickname) didn't do quite as well as they could but our expectations are high and theirs and high, so we are just going to keep working away."
Veronika Velez Zuzulova of Slovakia took the win, followed by Kathrin Zettel of Austria and Tina Maze of Slovenia. The bronze medal marked Maze's 11th podium of the season so far, launching her into first place overall and first in the slalom, giant slalom and combined standings.
There was also a giant slalom race on Dec. 28. Maze was second in that race behind Anna Genninger of Austria, and ahead of Tessa Worley of France. Marie-Michele Gagnon was the only Canadian to qualify for two runs, placing 14th overall to break a streak of DNF's that's plagued her since mid-December.
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