Gagnon continues to lead team 

Whistler skiers post storng results at NorAm Cup race

click to enlarge PHOTO BY PENTAPHOTOALPINE CANADA - Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon jumped 14 spots to eighth in the opening World Cup super combined last weekend after laying down the second-fastest slalom of the day. She's now been in the top 30 in eight consecutive races.
  • Photo BY pentaphotoalpine canada
  • Canada's Marie-Michele Gagnon jumped 14 spots to eighth in the opening World Cup super combined last weekend after laying down the second-fastest slalom of the day. She's now been in the top 30 in eight consecutive races.

Canada's most consistent skier in recent years is inching closer to becoming one of the better all-around skiers in the sport, leading the women's team once again at St. Moritz, Switzerland.

The first event was the super combined, which included a super G run and a slalom race. Marie-Michele Gagnon didn't do well in the opening super G of the combined race, ranking 26th overall heading into the slalom. Then, she moved up an incredible 14 places to eighth place after laying down the second-fastest slalom run of the day. It was her best result in a combined event, and Gagnon's sixth consecutive race earning points in the top 30.

"It was a pretty good day," said Gagnon, "Really good in slalom. I was so mad when I saw I didn't win the slalom run, it would have been my first time and I was like, 'Today's the day.' But no."

Tina Maze of Slovenia was first overall by almost a full second, followed by Austrians Nicole Hosp and Kathrin Zettel.

Next up was the super G event, where Gagnon placed 13th, the best result of her career so far. Teammates Larisa Yurkiw and Marie-Pier Prefontaine both skied off course in the technical section.

American Lindsey Vonn picked up her fourth consecutive victory in speed events by winning the event by almost four-tenths of a second. Tina Maze was second and American Julia Mancuso third.

The last event was the giant slalom. Gagnon had a bad first run to rank 26th overall, but once again posted one of the fastest second runs of the day to move up to 12th. "The first run, I think I went with the wrong mindset," she said. "Obviously it didn't work out too well. I'm skiing really strongly but there are still ups and downs. I'm not skiing like Tina Maze and she's kind of the role model for me. I'm skiing well but I hope I can ski more like her and get more consistent throughout the season."

Gagnon has now finished in the top 30 in eight races this season and sits 11th overall in the world rankings.

Teammate Marie-Pier Prefontaine finished 35th after the first run and didn't get a second chance at the course.

MOrgan Pridy fifth in noram race

While the national team continued its bid to win its first medal of the season, members of the development, provincial and club teams have had a busy September so far with events at Copper Mountain, Colorado, Mt. Norquay and Panorama.

At the NorAm Cup level, the team raced a series of events at Copper Mountain from Dec. 1 to 9.

In the opening women's super G it was an American podium sweep, while the top Canadian was Alberta's Tess Davies in seventh. A few Whistler Mountain Ski Club alums were in the race. Charley Field and Emma King both cracked the top 30 in 25th and 29th respectively, while Madison McLeish — who had a spot with the national team last season but injured her knee in September — placed 34th. Both Field and King are members of the BC Ski Team.

In the second super G the following day, Ontario's Mikaela Tommy placed fifth for Canada. Emma King moved up to 13th place, Madison McLeish was 19th and Charley Field 20th. WMSC FIS athlete Sofi Leroux placed 40th.

In the first women's downhill, Tess Davies was the top Canadian once again in eighth place. Charley Field was 15th, Emma King 26th and Sofi Leroux 34th. Madison McLeish did not test her knee in the downhill races.

Fernie's Sarah Freeman placed fifth for Canada in the second downhill, while Charley Field dropped back to 18th and Emma King moved up to 22nd. Sofi Leroux was 38th.

In the final downhill the top Canadian was Victoria Michalik of Alberta in eighth place. Charley Field was 14th and Emma King 22nd.

In the opening men's downhill, both Jeffrey Frisch and Dustin Cook cracked the top five in fourth and fifth respectively. Brothers Morgan and Conrad Pridy with the national development team were 16th and 22nd. From the WMSC and BC Ski Team, Brodie Seger was 49th and Broderick Thompson 59th out of 100 starters.

In the second downhill the top Canadian was Dustin Cook in fourth. Conrad and Morgan Pridy were 12th and 13th, Broderick Thompson was 37th and Brodie Seger 77th.

Cook was the top Canadian once again in the third downhill, placing eighth. Conrad and Morgan Pridy were 13th and 14th, Broderick Thompson 49th and Brodie Seger 80th.

The men finished like the women started with two back-to-back super G races. In the first event, Morgan Pridy was the top Canadian with a move up to fifth place overall. Broderick Thompson was 37th.

In the second race, Jeffrey Frisch and William Schuessler Bedard made the podium for Canada in second and third. Conrad Pridy was eighth, Morgan Pridy 11th and Broderick Thompson 50th.

The NorAm Cup circuit moved on to Panorama with a series that got underway on Dec. 10 with a women's super G. Results from those races will be posted next week.

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