Canadians continue to show improvement 

Ski team crawls its way up the rankings

KO giant slalom debuts

In introducing the Canadian Alpine Ski Team for this season, Alpine Canada Alpin President Ken Read didn’t promise any quick fix for our national medal drought, but asked followers of the sport to be patient. The vision for the program is long-term, and one day the results will be there.

Since the start of the season improvement in the team’s performance has been noticeable; slow maybe, but steady.

On Dec. 11, Julien Cousineau of Lachute, Quebec, was a guinea pig in the first Europa Cup "knock-out" giant slalom event, which is new to the ski circuits this year.

Basically skiers race head-to-head against skiers in the top-30, as ranked by qualifying times, with the top skiers moving on to the next round. The 15 skiers moving on to another course, and are joined by the fastest losers, creating a field of 18 for the second round. The nine winners of that round then race solo and are ranked by time.

The goal was to create more excitement in the sport, and the format is expected to open up the podium to a lot of different skiers because the changing conditions of the course affect all racers, not just the lower ranked ones.

Cousineau, who was ranked 29 th after the qualifier, beat Austrian Hannes Rieter in the first round to move on. Cousineau lost that match-up to Andreas Ertl of Germany, and finished 16 th overall.

Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway took the top spot, followed by Hannes Reichelt of Austria and Gauthier De Tessieres of France.

Three Canadian women score in France

The women’s technical team was at Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 12 to compete in World Cup giant slalom and super-G events.

Allison Forsyth of Nanaimo was looking good after the first run, finishing eighth. She had a slower second run, however, and dropped to 21 st on the day.

The other two Canadians to qualify for a second run, Geneviéve Simard of Val-Morin, Quebec, and Whistler’s Britt Janyk, both gained ground with excellent second runs. Janyk, who was 28 th after the first run, had the fifth-fastest second run to move up to 23 rd with her combined time.

"I didn’t ski the flats well on the first run, but then I was just looking for speed everywhere," she said. "I’ve got to build on today and know that I can put two good runs together."

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