With the World Cup alpine season just a couple of months away, Whistler’s Pridy brothers have been catching the eye of the Canadian speed team coaches and showing they’re capable of racing with some of the sport’s elite.
Morgan Pridy took top spot in this year’s Condor Cup, an unofficial race between Canada and Norway’s top downhill talents, in Portillo, Chile, on Sept. 11, beating out a talented field that included reigning downhill world champ Aksel Lund Svindal.
The 23-year-old, who has made three World Cup starts over the past two winters, said in a press release that he was pleased with the result but isn’t putting too much stock in it.
“I’m just really enjoying my time training with our speed team. It’s been awesome to ski with the Norwegians as well,” said Pridy. “It’s not every day you get to train the same course as the world’s best and then also have the opportunity to talk shop with them between runs. It was nice to be fast for our mock race during the Condor Cup, but it’s very early in the summer and there is still lots of work to be done.”
Conrad Pridy, 25, has also had an impressive offseason camp. Conrad, who has two top-30 finishes from 11 World Cup downhill starts in his career, was also drawing praises from Canadian coaches last week.
“The Pridy brothers are going in the right direction, even though there’s still a lot of work to do,” said head coach Martin Rufener in the release. “Morgan and Conrad are in good shape and they are doing very well here in training.
“There’s a clear goal for them to make the jump and get in the points in World Cup races. They can build up their confidence at each camp and take that into race situations.”
Meanwhile, fellow Whistler Mountain Ski Club alum Manuel Osborne-Paradis appears poised to build off of his strong 2013 campaign, which marked his return from a knee injury after nearly two full seasons away and saw him notch three top-10 finishes.
“Manny has had some good sessions where he is doing really well,” said Rufener. “There are other days when he sees he has to work on certain elements. He still wants to learn, even with his many years of experience. He has some big goals this year — to really make the jump to the top — and I can tell he’s really focused.”
The Canadian men’s speed team is still dealing with a number of skiers recovering from injury, including former downhill world champ Erik Guay and Whistler’s own Robbie Dixon, who missed all of last season with a tib-fib fracture suffered in November. Dixon appears to be taking his time to ensure he’s fully ready to return to racing.
“I know we’ve got a big year coming up. Sochi is fast approaching, for sure,” Dixon said earlier this summer. “At the end of the day, I feel like I’ve still got some years left. I don’t want to risk it just for one race.”
Meanwhile, the men’s technical team has been in Argentina, recently competing in some South American Cup races at Ushuaia’s Cerro Castor. Whistler’s Mike Janyk placed fifth in a slalom held Saturday (Sept. 14), following up a top-20 showing in GS from earlier in the week.
Off snow, it’s been a busy summer for Janyk as well. The 31-year-old was elected to the International Ski Federation’s (FIS) Athletes’ Commission in the spring and attended FIS meetings in Croatia as a member of the council. He was also introduced earlier this month as an ambassador for Athlete Ally, an organization focused on eliminating homophobia from sport.
“I’ve had the fortune and freedom to pursue my dreams in sport and have seen first-hand how it brings people from around the world together in the pursuit of love, happiness and excellence,” Janyk said in a release announcing his role with Athlete Ally. “If I may enjoy this freedom so should every other human being, with whom I would proudly stand on any field of play.”