Canadian bobsleigh pilots drove to a pair of silver medals in BMW IBSF World Cup action in Altenberg, Germany on Jan. 5.
On the women's side, Alberta's Christine de Bruin and Ontario's Kristen Bujnowski earned their first-ever World Cup podium appearance, finishing 0.31 seconds back of winners Mariama Jamanka and Annika Drazek of Germany. Americans Elana Meyers Taylor and Lake Kwaza placed third.
"I did not expect this, so it feels amazing," de Bruin said in a release. "My only focus was on making sure I had clean runs. I knew if I nailed corners one, nine and 14 the results would take care of itself. But silver? I am super excited and happy."
Meanwhile, the other Canadian sled of Alyssia Rissling and Bianca Ribi placed 10th.
In the men's two-man race, Summerland's Justin Kripps and Ontarian Cam Stones cruised to a silver medal in their first action of the World Cup season.
Olympic champion Kripps spent the early part of the campaign on the Europa Cup circuit, but was thrilled to return to the top tour with an impact.
"It's awesome. We haven't done any World Cups yet this year, so it is hard to know where you stack up against the big boys. It was awesome to come out and get a medal in the first race," Kripps said in a release.
Kripps and Stones held the lead after the first run, but a skid early in the second run allowed Germany's Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis all the opportunity they needed to slip ahead, winning the race by 0.37 seconds. Latvians Oskars Kiebermanis and Matiss Miknis placed third.
Nick Poloniato and Ben Coakwell, meanwhile, took 14th.
The Canadians didn't see the same level of success in the four-man race, as Kripps' sled took 12th and Poloniato ended up in 17th. Friedrich took his second win of the weekend, ahead of Kiebermanis and fellow German Nico Walther.
In the skeleton races, Canadians finished just outside the top 10 in both events. On the men's side, Dave Greszczyszyn took 11th. Russia's Alexander Tretiakov earned the win ahead of South Korea's Sungbin Yun and fellow Russian Nikita Tregubov. The only other Canadian, Kevin Boyer, took 24th.
On the women's side, Elisabeth Maier took a Canadian-best 11th. Russia took first and third once again, with Elena Nikitina snagging gold and Yulia Kanakina taking bronze, while Germany's Jacqueline Loelling was in the middle in second. Other Canadians included Mirela Rahneva in 14th and North Vancouver's Jane Channell, a regular at the Whistler Sliding Centre, in 19th.
Maxwell 11th at Königssee
Young luger Carolyn Maxwell took an 11th-place finish at this weekend's Viessmann Luge World Cup at Königssee, Germany on Jan. 5.
It was the 18-year-old's second-best finish ever and her top result away from her home track of Calgary, where she earned a 10th-place showing in December.
Germany's Julia Taubitz earned the win ahead of American Summer Britcher and Austria's Hannah Prock.
Whistler's Reid Watts was the lone Canadian to qualify in the men's race, though he didn't qualify for a second run and finished 26th. Austria's Reinhard Egger took first over Italy's Dominik Fischnaller and Germany's Sebastian Bley.
Lastly, in doubles action, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith ended up in 13th place. A pair of German teams, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken, and Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, took the top two spots, respectively, while Austrians Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller were third.
Mielzynski earns fifth at Oslo
Canadian skier Erin Mielzynski continued a strong Audi FIS World Cup season with two recent high results.
On New Year's Day, Mielzynski took fifth in the parallel slalom event in Oslo, Norway, narrowly missing a chance to be in the final four. Slovakia's Petra Vlhova bested American Mikaela Shiffrin in the big final, while Switzerland's Wendy Holdener knocked off Sweden's Anna Swenn Larsson in the small final. No Canadians participated in the men's event, which saw Austria's Marco Schwarz beat Great Britain's Dave Ryding in the final, while Switzerland's Ramon Zenhaeusern topped Sweden's Andre Myhrer in the small final.
Action shifted to Zagreb, Croatia on Jan. 5, with Mielzynski earning an 11th-place finish in the slalom, 4.69 seconds back of winner Shiffrin. Vlhova and Holdener took second and third, respectively. Laurence St-Germain, meanwhile, took 15th.
No Canadians completed two runs in the men's event. Austrian Marcel Hirscher ran away with the win over France's Alexis Pinturault and fellow Austrian Manuel Feller.
Women's slalom action continued on Jan. 8 at Flachau, Austria, with St-Germain emerging as the lone Canadian in finals, taking 13th, 4.71 seconds back of champion Vlhova. Shiffrin placed second while Switzerland's Katharina Liensberger rounded out the podium in third.
Whistler Freeride Club opens season at home
The Whistler Freeride Club had its first competition of the campaign, the IFSA Junior Regional, right here in Whistler from Jan. 4 to 6.
With the club providing the bulk of competitors, many of the podium finishers were from here in Whistler.
In the men's 12 to 14 event, Marcus Goguen topped Wei Tien Ho and Will Wilson while in the women's 12 to 14 event, Kailey Sherlock and Kiersten Higgins took the top two spots over Alyeska Ski Club's Brenna Gessner. In the women's 15 to 18 competition, Olivia McNeill nipped past Amber Mullings and Alexa Dodds while in the men's 15 to 18 division, Leif Gascoigne emerged over Jakob Jewett and Cam Duguid.
Meanwhile, in the under-12 event on Jan. 4, Isla Inglis and Talia Wittenberg took the top two spots while the All-Mountain Development Program's Tessa Paxton was third among the women while on the men's side, Floyd Guy took the victory over Jacob Robichaud and Samuel Hoad.
Gardner 11th in Bad Gastein Parallel slalom
Canadian Darren Gardner put up the top Canadian result in men's snowboard parallel slalom action at Bad Gastein, Austria on Jan. 9.
The Calgarian made it to the 1/8 finals and took 11th. Germany's Stefan Baumeister bested Switzerland's Dario Caviezel in the final and Benjamin Karl topped Lukas Mathies in an all-Austrian small final for third place.
No Canadians made the 16-rider women's final on Jan. 8, though Megan Farrell just missed out with her 19th-place showing in qualifiers. Austria's Claudia Riegler got past Poland's Aleksandra Krol in the final while fellow Austrian Sabine Scoeffmann edged out Switzerland's Patrizia Kummer in the small final.
In the Jan. 9 team event, Gardner and Farrell helped Canada to a 15th-place showing. The Austrian team of Benjamin Karl and Daniela Ulbing scored the win over Italy's Aaron March and Nadya Ochner in the small final while the Swiss duo of Caviezel and Kummer got past the Germans Baumeister and Ramona Hofmeister in the small final.
Full results are available online at www.fis-ski.com.