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Whistler skier leads Nor Am efforts

Risler, Anderson on top in speed series The World Cup events at Lake Louise were followed by a 10-day Nor Am Cup competition that got underway on Dec. 8 and wrapped up on Dec. 17.

Risler, Anderson on top in speed series

The World Cup events at Lake Louise were followed by a 10-day Nor Am Cup competition that got underway on Dec. 8 and wrapped up on Dec. 17.

Packed with members of the development team and the top prospects from Canada, the U.S., and around the world, competition was tough from the start.

Whistler’s Christina Risler, 20, has been with the national team since 2000, specializing in speed events. She lost most of last season to an injury, but is already making a strong comeback to lead the Canadian women in the CIBC Nor Am Cup events at Lake Louise. Alpine Canada Alpin has already named her the "Development Athlete of the Week."

In the first super G on Dec. 8, Risler finished in 12 th place. Allison Forsyth, a member of the World Cup team, was second in that race and Emilie Desforges and Sophie Splawinski were ninth and 11 th respectively.

In another super G on the following day, Risler made her way up to fifth place, where she was the top Canadian overall. She even finished one spot and 0.05 seconds ahead of Forsyth in that race.

Brigitte Acton was seventh, and Splawinski and Desforges were 11 th and 12 th respectively.

Risler really hit her stride in the downhill, winning both training runs and performing well in the races.

In the first race on Dec. 12, Risler took the bronze medal, landing just 0.10 seconds back of Lauren Van Ness of the U.S. and 0.28 seconds back of American Stacey Cook.

Acton led the other Canadians, finishing in fifth. Splawinski was eighth, Desforges 11 th , Sara-Maude Boucher 12 th , Jessica Dakers 14 th and Sherry Lawrence 15 th to round out the top-15.

In the second downhill the following day, Risler again finished third, just 0.15 seconds out of first place. Rachel Roosevelt of the U.S. was second in that contest and Stacey Cook was first once again.

"It’s a great start to the season and really sets up the Europa Cup races well for me," said Risler, who will race in giant slalom and slalom FIS races at Panorama this weekend.

The other Canadians also did well. Acton was fifth once again, and Boucher, Danielle Poleschuk, and Splawinski were seventh through ninth. Whistler skier Charlotte Whitney was 12 th , Jennah Durham was 14 th and Megan Kidston 15 th .

Following the women’s Nor Am competition, the men took to the slopes for their own speed series.

In the first men’s downhill on Dec. 14, Rossland’s David Anderson was the man to beat with a time of 1:44.00. He was followed by Nicholas Baker and Wade Bishop of the U.S.

Fifth place went to Manuel Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver, a Whistler Mountain Ski Club and B.C. Team alumnus. Whistler’s Jeff Hume was seventh.

Rounding out the top-15 were John Kucera in 10 th , Sean Cochrane in 11 th , Stefan Guay in 13 th and Cameron Barnes in 14 th .

In the second downhill, on Monday, Anderson finished just 0.02 seconds back of Bishop. Third went to Justin Johnson of the U.S.

Hume climbed into fifth place and Kucera was sixth. Osborne-Paradis was ninth, and Brad Spence and Cameron Culbert of Alberta were 12 th and 13 th respectively.

Anderson is looking to make his way back to the World Cup team after being relegated down a level as a result of injuries and a team restructuring following the 2002 Olympics. Last season he was second overall in the Nor Am super G, earning a World Cup berth for this season.

"I’m never satisfied with less than first," said Anderson, 24. "But I’ll take second, and the points that go along with it."

In the super G race, Anderson continued his winning streak with another gold medal for the series and for the course – Anderson has won five out of the last six super G Nor Am medals on the Lake Louise run.

He was followed on the podium by Calgary’s Brad Spence. Wade Bishop of the U.S. was third.

Kucera was fifth, Hume sixth, Guay ninth and Osborne-Paradis 10 th .