Whistler’s Morgan Pridy is headed to Sochi, as is fellow local skier Mike Janyk, after both posted season-best results in their final World Cup races of the Olympic qualification period this weekend.
Janyk secured a 14th-place finish in Friday’s (Jan. 24) slalom and Pridy placed 21st in Sunday’s (Jan. 26) super-G during the so-called “Super Bowl of skiing” at Kitzbühel, Austria.
Final nominations for Canada’s alpine team were revealed just before press time on Monday (Jan. 27), with Pridy and Janyk joining fellow Whistler Mountain Ski Club product Manuel Osborne-Paradis on the squad. Both skiers were in Europe at the time of the announcement and not immediately available for comment.
Pridy, 23, needed two top-30 results this season to earn an Olympic team nomination through Alpine Canada’s “young stars” criteria, and Sunday’s finish was his second time in the points this year.
“I’m really happy I was able to come down in the last qualification race and ski fast,” Pridy said in a release after Sunday’s race. “If I end up going to Sochi, I’m glad I was able to do it based on this result as opposed to coaches’ discretion. It would be an awesome opportunity.”
Olympic downhill champion Didier Defago won the super-G, with Bode Miller of the U.S. and Aksel Lund Svindal of Norway reached the podium. Pridy was less than a second off Defago’s winning time to finish 21st, a career-best World Cup result.
Pridy was also the only Canadian to complete the super-combined race on Sunday, placing 24th.
Jan Hudec, returning to the Canadian team after sitting out injured last week, was the only other Canadian in the super-G points, finishing 29th. Whistler Mountain Ski Club products Manuel Osborne-Paradis and Conrad Pridy were 37th and 67th, respectively.
Janyk hadn’t cracked the top 20 of a World Cup slalom since the season-opener in Finland, but skied solidly over a snowy and difficult Kitzbühel course on Friday evening to place 14th.
“I had good attack in both runs. I’m about feeling the headspace — the result is secondary — and it was the best I’ve felt this year,” said Janyk in a release. “For me, it’s about finding that place where I’m really skiing free and attacking with it. It feels like it’s building and with the Games coming it’s even cooler.”
Janyk has now earned a top-20 finish at Kitzbühel seven years running.
The tough conditions on Friday knocked a bunch of top racers out of the second run, including Austria’s Marcel Hirscher, who led after the first run but skied off course in the second session and had to hike back up the hill to earn a result. Germany’s Felix Neureuther won the race, while Norway’s Henrik Kristoffersen placed second and French skier Patrick Thaler was third.
“I needed two top 20s and this was my second. It was cool to race knowing I needed that second top 20 but I didn’t think about it while I was skiing,” Janyk said of his Olympic qualification requirements. “This is a very different (qualification route than) the last two Olympics and there’s always a smile on my face to see how it all plays out.”
Invermere’s Ben Thomsen also earned his spot on the Olympic team by finishing 12th in Saturday’s (Jan. 25) downhill at Kitzbühel. Osborne-Paradis finished 16th, Jeffrey Frisch finished 28th and Morgan Pridy placed 44th.
Janyk had a quick turnaround to his next World Cup race, which was scheduled for Tuesday (Jan. 28) at Schladming, Austria. One more downhill remains before Sochi as well, taking place Feb. 1 at St. Moritz, Switzerland.