Whistler Mountain Ski Club's Conrad Pridy has an early-season medal on which to build.
Pridy took silver in the Nor-Am super-G stop at Panorama Mountain Resort on Dec. 13, while Broderick Thompson took a bronze the next day.
Pridy's 52.69 was 0.32 seconds behind winner Jeffrey Frisch of Mont-Tremblant, and was then 12th in a repeat event the next day, though he had a better time of 51.30.
Right before the Panorama stop, the Nor-Am Cup hosted downhill events in Lake Louise, Alta. on Dec. 10 and 11. Pridy shone there, too, as he was fifth in the opening race, with his 1:17.68 placing him 0.75 seconds behind winner Tyler Werry of Fernie. In the second event, Pridy scored a 1:18.70, leaving him 1.10 seconds behind repeat winner Werry.
"I went in with high expectations. I know I ski well," he said. "It's nice to know even if I have a mediocre day, I can finish fifth or sixth in a race."
Pridy described himself as being a strong downhill skier, but a lack of snow during training this summer forced him onto smaller hills and into super-G situations, which he feels have improved heading into this year.
"I feel a lot more comfortable making turns and going a little bit slower," he explained. "You can do a couple runs of downhill and get up to speed and feel comfortable, but if you go to super-G, you'll be skiing better. (The results) just kind of proves that notion."
This all comes after Pridy was dropped from the Alpine Canada roster earlier this year. The 26-year-old is hoping to prove himself, looking to become a more consistent skier, to make his way back on the team. He acknowledged that with coaches and organizers looking to go in a different direction, he's been given a tough set of speed standards he needs to reach to return.
"I'm confident I can do it — it just won't be easy," he said.
Pridy said, in a sense, being forced to fend for himself has helped him appreciate the release competition can bring.
"It takes your mind off of the stresses and pressures of racing," he said. "When you get to the top of the course, instead of being stressful, it's more like 'Ahh, I get a bit of a break.'"
Several other locals are competing on the Nor-Am circuit.
At Panorama on Dec. 13, Thompson posted a 53.14 in that race to finish seventh.
On Dec. 14, Thompson took bronze with a time of 50.84, which was 0.27 seconds back of winner Erik Arvidsson of the United States. Clubmates James Crawford (51.35) was 15th and Brodie Seger (51.82) was 23rd.
Thompson (10th), Brodie Seger (13th), and Pridy (25th) all finished in the top 30 at the super combined event as part of the weekend.
On Dec. 10 and 11, several other locals took part in the Nor-Am Cup downhill events in Lake Louise, Alta.
Thompson, in particular, was 12th (1:18.71) on the opening day.
The next day, Brodie Seger improved from 40th to 11th with a 1:19.06, while Crawford (1:19.27) was 16th. Thompson (1:19.37) ended up 19th.
A handful of WMSC racers also competed in FIS slalom events at Mt. Norquay, Alta. on Dec. 6 and 7.
The Dec. 6 opener was, all in all, the better day for the local competitors.
Riley Seger finished 13th with a time of 1:42.44, trailing winner Adam Barwood of New Zealand by 5.35 seconds. Meanwhile, Kyle Yates (1:43.02) was 16th, Max Peiffer 1:44.72) was 21st, Samuel Kirshenblatt (1:45.87) was 25th and Max Kirshenblatt (1:48.02) was 29th.
On Dec. 7, Peiffer was the top local, finishing 14th with a 1:40.99, which was 0.03 seconds ahead of Samuel Kirshenblatt, who was 15th. Dominic Unterberger of Revelstoke won with a time of 1:34.14. Riley Seger (1:44.06) was 23rd, while Max Kirshenblatt (2:05.62) ended up in 35th.
Complete results are available at www.fis-ski.com.
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