It’s been a rough weekend for Whistler’s World Cup skiers, as none were able to qualify in their respective races going Saturday (Dec. 8).
Reigning World Cup women’s ski cross champion Marielle Thompson finished outside the top 16 in Friday’s (Dec. 7) timed qualifier for Saturday’s heats in the World Cup season-opener at Nakiska, Alta.
The 20-year-old finished 19th, missing qualifying by just 0.23 seconds after a mistake that cost her plenty of speed.
“I can’t blame anyone but myself,” said Thompson. “I’m looking forward to the next race. I just want to race.”
Kelowna’s Kelsey Serwa qualified second and was placed in a tough quarter-final on Saturday with fellow Canadian Georgia Simmerling, Switzerland’s Katrin Mueller and Sweden’s Anna Holmlund. Both Canadians were eliminated in the opening round, while Holmlund and Mueller advanced to the final. Swiss skier Fanny Smite edged French veteran Ophelie David for gold.
Three Canadians qualified for Saturday’s men’s heats, but Whistler resident Dave Duncan wasn’t among them. Duncan finished 44th on Friday, falling short of the group of 32 who advanced as the course seemed to speed up for those making later starts.
“My run wasn’t my best ever, but I thought it was good enough to qualify,” said Duncan, who was the 15th skier of nearly 70 to drop on Friday. “Mother Nature had different plans. The track’s speeding up and I’m on the outside looking in.”
Brady Leman finished second in Saturday’s small final, placing sixth overall for the top Canadian men’s finish. Swiss skier Armin Niederer won each of his heats to take top spot, holding off countryman Alex Fiva in the final.
Janyk misses out at Val d’Isere
Whistler’s Mike Janyk had another agonizing result at Val d’Isere, France, on Saturday and failed to qualify for a second slalom run for the second time this season.
Janyk wound up 35th after the first run, two-tenths of a second outside the top 30. No Canadians were able to advance to the second run.
Alexis Pinturault delighted his home French crowd by taking the victory. Germany’s Felix Neureuther took second and reigning overall men’s champ Marcel Hirscher of Austria was third.
Janyk was also just outside the top 30 during his season opener at Levi, Finland.
All Whistler skiers will get a chance to rebound shortly. The ski cross World Cup circuit heads to Telluride, Colo., with qualifications starting Wednesday (Dec. 12). Janyk’s next race comes up Dec. 18 at Madonna di Campiglio, Italy.