aining, the Canadian Cowboys couldn’t wrangle a medal at the opening World Cup speed events in Lake Louise this past weekend. The consolation prize was making Olympic quota requirements, easing the pressure in the next few months.
Erik Guay, coming back from injury, posted the best result in Saturday’s downhill (Nov. 30) in eighth place overall. Two other Canadians managed to finish in the points in the top 30, with Jan Hudec 22nd and Whistler’s Manuel Osborne-Paradis 28th.
Whistler’s Conrad Pridy also had a good day to place 32nd overall. That’s out of the points, but is a step towards improving his overall start position at future races. Jeffrey Frisch was 35th, and Ben Thomsen and Morgan Pridy were 44th and 45th out of 75 starters.
One of the main goals for the skiers was to lock down Olympic spots, and Guay’s eighth place finish qualifies him for the Games in Sochi.
“I’m really satisfied with the result, and also to have qualified for Sochi in the first race of the season,” said Guay. “Now I can work on other things and work on progressing my skiing.”
As for Conrad Pridy, he hoped to do better but came out of the race encouraged after finishing just 0.3 seconds out of the points.
“I thought it was really good, I was really happy with it,” said Pridy. “I was hoping it’d be a little faster. Everything I wanted to do I did, and I felt pretty fast the whole way. I’m confident in my skiing.”
The win went to Italian Dominik Paris, followed by Austria’s Klauss Kroell and French skier Adrien Theaux.
Sunday (Dec. 1) was the super G race. Jan Hudec placed 10th for Canada, followed closely by Manuel Osborne-Paradis in 12th.
Both skiers qualified for the Olympics with those results.
“I didn’t actually think I’d be in the top 12 today, that’s for sure,” said Osborne-Paradis, who is coming back from a string of injuries and on a mission to improve his start position.
“That was a good surprise. Now I can go into Beaver Creek (this weekend) with that top 30 spot and Val Gardena (Italy) with top 30 and know I can compete in those races and compete every weekend.”
Erik Guay also made the top 30 in 18th position, with Morgan Pridy 41st, Ben Thomsen 45th, Conrad Pridy 52nd and Jeffrey Frisch 53rd.
Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway took the win, followed by Austrians Matthias Mayer and Georg Streitberger.
While the men’s speed season was getting underway at Lake Louise, the women’s speed season was also starting at Beaver Creek, Colorado. The Canadian team didn’t field any racers in either the downhill or super G races, but sent a full squad to Sunday’s giant slalom. Marie-Pier Prefontaine led the way in that race in ninth place, with Marie-Michele Gagnon in 13th and Erin Mielzynski 16th.
The downhill went to Lara Gut of Switzerland, followed by Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein and Elena Fanchini of Italy. Tina Maze, who had the most successful season of any female athlete in World Cup history, once again struggled and placed 16th overall.
Gut won the super G as well, this time followed by Anna Fenninger and Nicole Hosp of Austria.
Jessica Lindell-Vikarby of Sweden won the GS event, followed by Miaela Shiffrin of the U.S. — a Whistler Cup regular once upon a time — and Tina Weirather.
The season continues this weekend with the teams swapping venues. There will be a women’s World Cup for downhill and super G at Lake Louise this weekend, and men’s downhill, super G and GS events at Beaver Creek.