You can excuse Mike Janyk if he looked a little uncomfortable on his skis Saturday (Dec. 8), because they weren’t his.
Janyk ended up racing on another competitor’s skis for the World Cup men’s slalom at Val d’Isere, France, due to a mix-up by ski techs at the start gate. He finished 35th, unable to advance to the second run.
With two ‘DNQs’ to start the season, Janyk is suddenly mired in a slump.
In an email to The Question, Janyk said the equipment gaffe was no excuse for a poor performance, but was an example of “how everything seems to be going wrong” for the Canadian men’s technical team right now.
“All the little things that could be going our way in races are not, and what can be going wrong is,” said the 30-year-old. “If this is the bottom — and, oh man, it feels like it is — then the only way is up.”
Janyk was two-tenths of a second outside the top 30 but was once again the top Canadian, as teammates Julien Cousineau, Trevor White and Paul Stutz skied out and Trevor Philp didn’t qualify.
Janyk was also squeezed out of the top 30 by mere hundredths at the season-opening slalom at Levi, Finland, in November.
To call Janyk’s start to the season uncharacteristic would be an understatement — it’s been seven years since Janyk failed to advance to a second run in back-to-back World Cup slalom races. Prior to this year, Janyk had missed qualifying just twice in slalom since the 2007-08 season.
Janyk will race a pair of Europa Cup events this week in Italy, where he’ll remain for the next World Cup at Madonna di Campiglio on Tuesday (Dec. 18). Despite the frustrating start, Janyk has some positives to focus on for the time being.
“My training feels the best and fastest it has been in two years and the times back that up. Cousineau is skiing the best I’ve ever seen him ski and together we have the real potential to break through,” he said.
“The skiing is truly there and it is up to us to find the fire within us and bring back the heat in the races that we once had.”
Field fast again in Nor-Ams
Pemberton’s Charley Field improved her career-best Nor-Am Cup finish once again last week with a pair of top-20 finishes in downhill races at Colorado’s Copper Mountain.
The B.C. Ski Team member was 15th and the top Canadian U18 skier in the women’s downhill on Dec. 5, and followed up with an 18th-place result the following day and a 14th-place showing in the U.S. National Championship on Friday (Dec. 7). Teammate Emma King of Whistler had 22nd-place finishes on both Dec. 6 and 7 at Copper.
King was 29th and Field was 31st in a Nor-Am super-G at Panorama on Monday (Dec. 10) to lead the local contingent. Whistler’s Kelly Steeves was 51st Monday in her Nor-Am Cup debut, then earned her first Nor-Am points when finishing 27th in Tuesday’s (Dec. 11) super combined. The races at Panorama are ongoing until next Monday (Dec. 17).
Conrad Pridy used his week off the World Cup tour to race the men’s Nor-Am speed events at Copper, his best result of the week being an eighth-place finish in super-G on Sunday (Dec. 9). Morgan Pridy had a decent week in Colorado with top-16 finishes in all five races, including a fifth-place result in Saturday’s super-G.
The B.C. Ski Team’s Broderick Thompson managed 37th-place finishes in both downhill and super-G during the week, while teammate Brodie Seger had a top-50 showing in the Dec. 5 downhill. Whistler’s Marc Leroux made his Nor-Am debut in Saturday’s super-G and was 81st.
Meanwhile, local B.C. Ski Team member Ford Swette won Sunday’s Van Houtte Cup men’s slalom FIS race on Sunday at Norquay, Alta. Swette posted the fastest second run and surpassed Alberta’s Andy Trow by two-hundredths of a second for the victory.
“I was thrilled to have won my first slalom race,” Swette said in a release. “It’s a small sign that our training is paying off.”