Canadian technical skiers knocking on the door 

The Canadian Alpine Ski Team has yet to win a medal this season, but if the results from last weekend are any indication it's only a matter of time - time that can be measured in tenths of a second.

At Val d'Isere, France, Julien Cousineau came within 0.6 seconds of the podium while tying his career-best fifth place result in the slalom - building on his eighth place result the previous week.

"I would have loved a podium," he said. "I just tried to charge as hard as I could, but I came out on the wrong side. It's coming though, I know it. I've come a long ways in the last couple of years. I've been fighting my way back (from injury) for the last four years and now I'm where I want to be and where I think I should be. But I want more, so we'll see."

Whistler's Michael Janyk was sitting ninth after the first run, but straddled a gate as the visibility deteriorated and the course got more bumpy in the second round. Trevor White was 21st after the first run, and managed to jump to 12th with a fast second run - his second best World Cup result so far.

"Val d'Isere is such a tough hill," said White. "It's steep, dark and relentless.

"There were a lot of casualties out there. But me coming in 12th and Cousi fifth, I think we did pretty solid today."

As well as Mike Janyk, other casualties were Brad Spence, who was 14th after the first run, and Patrick Biggs who was sitting 29th.

Only 25 skiers finished both runs, while 32 skiers did not finish their first or second runs. Among them were American Bode Miller, Austria's Manfred Pranger and Mario Matt, and French star Jean-Baptiste Grange.

Marcel Hirscher and Benjamin Raich of Austria were first and second, followed by Steve Missillier of France.

In the opening giant slalom, American Ted Ligety took the gold medal, followed by Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway and Massimiliano Blardone of Italy. Whistler's Robbie Dixon - who typically specializes in speed events - was the top Canadian, in 24 th place. Dixon was the only Canuck to get a second run. Jean-Philippe Roy and Francois Bourque did not finish the first run.

The women's technical team was in St. Moritz for a giant slalom. There, an increasingly consistent Marie-Michele Gagnon posted the best World Cup result of her career, fifth place. Her time was less than half a second back of the podium.

"I was really surprised," she said. "I was asking myself this morning if I was going to be in the top 30 because in the GS in Aspen I just missed qualifying. I am still disappointed about that, but I'm skiing well and I have been in GS since Soelden (Austria) so I feel good about it.

"I try to make sure I have the right mindset. I just attack like no other. It's a World Cup and there is no other way to ski then to attack."

Gagnon was sitting in 14th place after the first run, then posted the third-fastest second run to move up nine spots.

Tessa Worley of France took the gold medal, followed by Tanja Poutiainen of Finland and Tina Maze of Slovenia.

 

 

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