Grandi in the top-10; Canadians crack the top-20
The Canadian Alpine Ski Team started the New Year with a new resolve last weekend, making strong finishes in Italy and Slovenia. For some skiers, like Canmores Thomas Grandi, it was a long-awaited return to the top-10. For others, namely Whistlers Britt Janyk, it was yet another milestone in her breakthrough season.
The womens team was at Bormio, Italy for a giant slalom and slalom events.
In the GS on Jan. 4, Nanaimos Allison Forsyth led a trio of Canadian women into the top-20 with a 10 th place finish, 2.66 seconds back of first place. Janyk finished in 17 th place and Genevieve Simard was 19 th .
Forsyth, 24, started the day slowly, and was ranked 19 th herself after her first run. She posted the second-fastest final run of the day to move up nine spots to the 10 th position.
"Ive been struggling to find the feeling in GS and for the first time all year I really felt like I was racing, like I was going fast," she said. "Its been tough, but Im proud that I have been able to stay positive and improve through the ups and downs. Its been a good learning experience."
Although she came into this World Cup season ranked fifth in the GS, Forsyth has been struggling to find a place in the top-30. Now she wants to finish her season on a strong note.
"Im still on track for World Championships. Its just a head game now," she said. "Ive built a lot of confidence today and theres no reason for me not to ski my absolute best at St. Moritz. This is a funny sport where every day the variables change and anyone in the top-10 can win."
That day the winner was Sonja Nef of Switzerland, who led the day with a time of 2:24.39. Anja Paerson of Sweden was second in 2:24.66, and Michaela Dorfmeister of Austria was third in 2:25.64.
Only the Austrian team placed more skiers in the top-20 than Canada with five.
In the slalom on Jan. 5, Janyk was the top Canadian, in 16 th place her best World Cup result in the discipline to date. Furthermore, she once again made the second-fastest second run of the day, showing that she is just one good run away from her first World Cup podium.
"This tells me that my slalom is fast, I can be right in there," said Janyk, 22. "With a good start number Im as fast as anyone out there."
Janyk was named the Alpine Canada Alpin Athlete of the Week for her efforts, including a career-best sixth in a giant slalom the week before.
Janica Kostelic of Croatia continued to dominate the womens slalom, this time winning with a comfortable lead of 2.08 seconds over Elisabeth Goergl of Austria. Anja Paerson of Sweden was third.
While the women were in Bormio, Thomas Grandi was the lone Canadian in the slalom at Kranjska Gora, Slovenia, with teammate Jean-Philippe Roy still out with an arm injury.
Grandi is having his best season on the World Cup circuit in several years, and he was in fine form in Slovenia.
He started the day from the 36 th position, and moved up into 16 th place with a strong first run. He then went on to race the fifth-fastest second run of the day to move up seven more positions into ninth overall his best World Cup finish in four years.
"Its just a great feeling to come down and see number one on the board and experience a ton of people cheering for you," said Grandi, 30. "The field is so competitive that any one of 25 guys could win on any given day. Ive been close, Ive been consistent, and I really believe Im going to have my day.
"I knew I had a great race. Ill watch the tape and see what I can improve on. It gets me ticked off knowing that if I had made one or two turns better, it shaves off tenths (of a second). I know I can go much faster."
The finish moved him into 16 th place in the World Cup slalom standings.
The day before, Grandi was 14 th in the giant slalom, missing the podium by half a second. He is now ranked 21st in the GS, and 33 rd in the overall standings.
Although he is enjoying his success this season, Grandi still cant wait for J.P. Roy to return to competition. The two skiers push each other in training, and Grandi hasnt been shy in sharing the credit for his results this season with Roy.
"If we had J.P. here our results would be even better. Were definitely missing him," said Grandi.
The mens team is in Bormio, Italy, this weekend for downhill and slalom races after the events were cancelled at Chamonix, France due to mild weather and rain. The womens team will go to Germany for four FIS slalom and GS races before rejoining the World Cup in Cortina, Italy, and Maribor, Slovenia.