Mike Janyk knows the World Cup slalom coming up this weekend is a “make or break” race for his 2013 season, but the Canadian Alpine Ski Team veteran is showing no panic.
The Whistler skier’s struggles continued on Sunday (Jan. 13) when he skied out in the first run of the slalom at Adelboden, Switzerland, making it five consecutive races to start his season without advancing to a second run.
Janyk appeared to catch a rut on the upper section of the course and was thrown off his line, unable to make the next gate.
“Mike made a tactical error that put him out,” said Pete Bosinger, the Canadian men’s team head coach. “I think he was probably skiing quite well but that (result) was not what we were looking for. He needs full runs and we need him to be well inside the top 30.”
Janyk made a lengthy post on his blog prior to Adelboden that described how he’s been working to enjoy the nerves that come with race-day pressures rather than let them turn him into “a nervous wreck” from event to event.
In an email to The Question on Tuesday (Jan. 15), Janyk said it’s been difficult to enjoy the process during his current funk, but that he’s having an easier time putting poor results behind him.
“It’s hard immediately after the races, but then it’s actually easier than ever to continue forward and not waver for the first time in my career,” said Janyk, 30. “I have a vision towards something truly meaningful and therefore, when the dust settles after a race, all is calm. I listen to myself and I’m strengthened and find faith in my process, my input, my work ethic and my intentions towards my goal.”
Janyk, who made his 100th World Cup start earlier this year, has gone through stretches in his career like this before, but has come back strong when finding his groove again.
He failed to earn a result in five straight races between the end of the 2008 season and start of the next campaign, but spent most of 2009 racking up top-10 finishes and later earned a bronze medal at the FIS World Ski Championships. He was outside the top 30 in the first three races of the 2010-11 season, but collected four top-five finishes before the end of the year.
Janyk said he is keeping his past resiliency in mind while trying to snap his current skid.
“After the race the other day, I felt no need to fight these outcomes, to panic or change much, but to (stick) to what my coaches and I feel has been the right way from our plan at the start of the season,” he said. “I know that when I have set out to achieve something true to me in my life, I’ve always accomplished it. Thinking of this yesterday brought me a lot of confidence in my process and my vision.”
The men’s World Cup tour remains in Switzerland this weekend for the classic stop at Wengen, which hosts a combined, downhill and slalom from Friday to Sunday (Jan. 18 to 20).
Janyk has been in the top 20 at Wengen for five seasons in a row, including a fourth-place showing in 2011. His consistency on the snow there should provide a confidence boost on Sunday.
“I know this next race is a real make or break. There are deadlines in seasons and if it doesn’t come together in Wengen, I know there are realities that will be costly to my season. Faced with this reality, I feel more confident and calm than ever,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed success in Wengen and when you feel confident from a venue it helps, for sure. I will definitely be drawing on this confidence and all that I have in the bank from my experiences in the past to go out and give everything this weekend.”