Julia Murray makes first SX podium 

click to enlarge Strong Team Julia Murray squats and Ashleigh McIvor spots during dryland training in 2008.
  • Strong Team Julia Murray squats and Ashleigh McIvor spots during dryland training in 2008.

The daughter of downhill legend Dave Murray and freestyle world champion Stephanie Sloan, Whistler's Julia Murray went on to find a sport that combines a little of both her parents' talents. Ski cross demands the speed and fearlessness of a downhill skier as well as the technical skills and comfort in rough terrain of a mogul skier.

Last weekend at Meiringen-Hasliberg, Switzerland, the second-to-last event of the season, Murray earned her first World Cup podium in ski cross, going from rookie in 2007-08 to rank among the world's best in 2008-09. She finished third, behind Katharina Gutensohn of Austria and World Cup leader Ophelie David of France, while edging out teammate Kelsey Serwa to stand on her first World Cup podium.

With regular appearances in the top-10, it was only a matter of time before Murray would land on a World Cup ski cross podium. Before the bronze, she had fourth, fifth, seventh, ninth and 10 th place finishes on the tour. She has finished out of the top-30 in just one race.

In Switzerland, she placed second in the qualifying runs, then won her first three heats to compete in the semi-final against teammates Serwa and Aleisha Cline. Murray won that heat as well, moving on to the finals, while Cline went to the small finals to place seventh overall.

Ophelie David took the hole shot in the final race, with Serwa in second place and Murray fourth. Serwa got knocked off line by Gutensohn, who went on to edge out David for first place. Murray held onto third.

"I just feel comfortable on this hill, I had my best World Cup result here last year and the hill just suits my style," said Murray. "I'm excited to now have a World Cup podium, hopefully there's a lot more of these to come."

Whistler's Ashleigh McIvor, ranked third this season, had a disappointing day. Gutensohn, not making any friends on the tour, clipped McIvor's ski while attempting a pass and McIvor went down. The team lodged a protest, but Gutensohn moved on and McIvor settled for 10 th place.

Danielle Poleschuk separated her shoulder after a crash in the quarter finals, but finished 15 th on the day, giving Canada five skiers in the top-15. It's not known whether she will race again this season.

On the men's side, Chris DelBosco placed second for the third time this season, finishing between Andreas Steffen of Switzerland and Xavier Kuhn of the U.S. after some aggressive skiing from the back of the pack. That put DelBosco within 44 points of the World Cup title.


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