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Grandi leads Canadian skiers

Whistler skiers turn in solid performances As the World Cup season winds down for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, there’s no question where the men’s MVP award is going – Canmore, Alberta veteran Thomas Grandi.

Whistler skiers turn in solid performances

As the World Cup season winds down for the Canadian Alpine Ski Team, there’s no question where the men’s MVP award is going – Canmore, Alberta veteran Thomas Grandi.

In the recent technical series at Kraniska Gora, Slovenia, Grandi pulled off yet another top-10 finish in the giant slalom, finishing 10 th in the giant slalom. He was also the only Canadian to qualify for the second run in the slalom event, where he finished 22 nd .

Aside from a handful of DNF’s, Grandi has been consistent all season. Since December, he has only finished outside of the top-20 once – in Slovenia – and has six top-10 results to his credit in slalom and GS.

He is currently ranked 13 th in the GS standings and 10 th in the slalom, and is 19 th overall on the World Cup circuit.

Grandi started the weekend well, standing second after the first giant slalom run. He had some problems in his second run, and fell back to 10 th place.

"I’m totally disappointed. Today I thought was going to be my day," said the 31-year-old veteran. "I felt like I was charging but I guess the course is so straight that despite what it felt like, I was loopy a little bit, so it’s costly. If you have that wrong approach it costs you every turn.

"If the course had been turn-ier I think I would have had a much better chance but I can’t control that so I have to learn to ski fast on the straight ones, too."

None of Grandi’s teammates, Jean-Philippe Roy, Ryan Semple or Francois Bourque, qualified for a second run.

Bode Miller of the U.S. took the gold medal ahead of Alberto Schieppati of Italy and Fredrik Nyberg of Sweden.

In the slalom on Sunday, Grandi was 23 rd after the first run and only succeeded in moving up one position with his second run. Grandi said the result was a wake-up call to get out of his comfort zone and start skiing more aggressively.

"I learned that in ski racing, even when you think you’re good, if you don’t push the limit every run, you’re not going to be fast… you’re not going to win."

Truls Ove Karlsen of Norway won the gold, followed by teammate Tom Stiansen and Austria’s Mario Matt.

The Canadian women’s technical team opted to miss a pair of World Cup slaloms at Levi, Finland over the weekend. Some of the athletes returned home for a Nor Am, while others took part in the Europa Cup races with the development team.

Nor Am Championships

The beginning of the end of the Nor Am season started on Thursday, Feb. 26 with speed championships at Big Mountain, Montana.

In the women’s downhill Stacey Cook of the U.S. took the win and the overall title.

Eight other Canadians were in the top-30. Emily Hamill of Calgary led the way with an eighth place finish. Whistler’s Charlotte Whitney was 23 rd .

The top Canadian in the Nor Am standings was Christina Risler of Vancouver and Whistler, who has been sidelined indefinitely with multiple injuries after a serious crash in a Europa Cup race. Still, she finished eighth overall in the Nor Am downhill standings.

In the men’s super G on Friday Whistler Mountain Ski Club alumnus Manuel Osborne-Paradis got one step closer to the overall Nor Am title with a gold medal performance. He currently sits third overall, 19 points out of second and a guaranteed World Cup berth for next season.

Andre Horton of the U.S. was second, followed by Calgary’s John Kucera. David Anderson of Rossland was 13 th , Canmore’s Cameron Barnes 14 th and Whistler’s Scott Hume 15 th .

In the second super G on the following day, David Anderson finished second behind Kevin Francis of the U.S. Anderson is still in the running to defend his Nor Am title.

Four Canadians joined Anderson in the top-10. John Kucera was third, Sean Cochrane of Prince George was sixth, Paul Stutz of Banff was seventh and Osborne-Paradis was ninth. Whistler skiers Scott Hume, Robbie Dixon and Ben Chaddock were 24 th , 25 th and 37 th respectively.

Although Osborne-Paradis was solid once again, he actually dropped back to third in the overall standings as an American skier moved up in the rankings. At the same time Anderson jumped to the overall lead in the Nor Am series with just one week remaining.

Following the events at Big Mountain, there was a pair of women’s Nor Am super G events at Panorama Mountain Village.

Nanaimo’s Allison Forsyth, who has been forced to miss several World Cup technical races this year because of tendonitis in her hips, won the first super G event on the calendar.

"I know, shocker, eh? I like to keep people on their toes," said Forsyth, who is better known as a technical racer.

Forsyth, 25, recently tried her hand in a World Cup Super G. Although she finished out of the top-30, she was excited because the race didn’t aggravate her tendonitis.

Kelly VanderBeek of Kitchener, Ontario finished second after a close call in one section. Fernie’s Emily Brydon was sixth, Jessica Dakers 10 th , Anna Goodman 13 th , and Sara-Maude Boucher 15 th .

Europa Cup

Canada’s Genevieve Simard shook off a recent post-injury slump to take the giant slalom silver medal at St. Sebastian, Austria behind Laurence Lazier of France on Friday, Feb. 27. Montreal’s Sophie Splawinski was 15 th , Whistler’s Britt Janyk 21 st and Emilie Desforges of Dorval, Quebec was 28 th .

In the slalom event the following day, Brigitte Acton of Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario was eighth overall, her fifth top-10 result on the circuit this season.

She was followed closely by Janyk who was just one-tenth of a second back of Acton to finish 11 th overall.

In the second slalom event on Monday, Splawinski took the gold medal ahead of a pair of French skiers, Audrey Peltier and Laurence Lazier.

Gail Kelly and Genevieve Simard also made the top-10, finishing fifth and sixth respectively. Acton was 16 th , Janyk 18 th and Anna Prchal 27 th .

In the men’s slalom, Britt’s younger brother Michael was the only Canadian to crack the top-30 with a 22 nd place.