With snow falling on over 40,000 fans in the grandstands at the base of the Hahnenkamm mountain, Cameron Alexander started 27th and powered his way down the challenging Streif course on Jan. 21 to finish sixth. The Whistler Mountain Ski Club (WMSC) alum posted his best result of the season (one minute, 58.40 seconds) and his first top 10 since last year's downhill win in Kvitfjell, Norway. He now has 25 FIS World Cup starts.
In so doing, Alexander tied himself with Otmar Striedinger of Austria. Both found themselves two-tenths of a second back of another Austrian, Vincent Kriechmayr, who placed fifth.
“Today felt like I skied well,” he said in a press release. “I had a solid run yesterday, but there were a few mistakes that I wanted to clean up. Did my best today to do that and it turned out really well. Kitzbühel is an insane place, coming into the finish with thousands of fans cheering felt really good. I’m stoked to build on this confidence heading into the next races and into the World Championships.”
Aleksander Aamodt Kilde of Norway was back to being his dominant self, winning gold in a time of 1:56.90. Johan Clarey of France took silver (1:57.57) and American Travis Ganong earned bronze (1:57.85).
Fellow WMSC racers Broderick Thompson (21st), Brodie Seger (23rd), and Jack Crawford (28th) also earned World Cup points in Austria. Jeffrey Read of Canmore Alta. finished 33rd and WMSC's Kyle Alexander failed to complete his race.
Meanwhile, Stefanie Fleckenstein of Whistler was the only Canadian woman to race the downhill last Saturday in Italy. She finished 35th.
While the alpine skiers were doing their thing, Canadian ski-cross athletes were also in action. Reece Howden of Cultus Lake, B.C. grabbed silver in the World Cup event at Idre Fjäll, Sweden on Saturday, while Whistler's Marielle Thompson won the small final to place fifth.
On the spectacular Idre Fjäll ski-cross course, Howden battled 53 distinct course elements to cross the line in second. This is "Big Rig's" fourth consecutive podium, and he continues to lead the ski cross World Cup standings.
“It was a pretty good day,” said Howden in a release. “There was good strong skiing at the top, and then I made a couple of mistakes that cost me the win, but it worked out OK. It was really great to see so many Canadians in the top eight today.”
Jared Schmidt of Ottawa, Ont. won the men's small final to finish fifth and another Ontarian, Toronto's Kevin Drury, was sixth. Brady Leman (Calgary, Alta.) finished 10th, Gavin Rowell (Prince George, B.C.) 14th, Carson Cook (Edmonton, Alta.) 24th and Kris Mahler (Canmore, Alta.) rounded out the Canadian men in 29th.
On the women's side, Tiana Gairns (Prince George) was seventh and Hannah Schmidt (Ottawa) eighth. Abby McEwen (Edmonton) crossed the line in ninth, India Sherret (Cranbrook, B.C.) 14th and Courtney Hoffos (Windermere, B.C.) was 22nd.