Canada Unveils Team for FIS Alpine Ski World Championships

Canada will send a strong team with a mixture of youth and experience to next week’s FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, Alpine Canada Alpin announced Wednesday.

The 15-member team, led by super-G Crystal Globe winner Erik Guay and World Cup veteran Britt Janyk, features three World Cup winners, two world championship medalists and 13 Olympians.

Alongside established veterans, several talented young racers will make their world championship debuts, including 23-year-old Ben Thomsen on the men’s side and Marie-Pier Préfontaine, 22, for the ladies.

“We’re excited to announce our 2011 World Championship team,” said Alpine Canada Alpin athletic director Patrick Riml. “We have a strong team with lots of experience and we also have young, up and coming athletes.”

Like several other nations, Canada has lost some of its leading skiers to injury this season.

But Canadian skiers have enjoyed great success at Garmisch over the years and the course seems to be well suited to Canada’s top racers. Guay, of Mont-Tremblant, Que., has had four podium finishes at Garmisch in the past four years, including two first-place results.

“We are missing some strong skiers due to injury, including 2009 world downhill champion John Kucera and Manuel Osborne-Paradis,” said Riml. “But we’ve had great success in Garmisch as a team, with Erik Guay securing the Crystal Globe in super-G there last season. The race hill is going to suit our athletes. We’ve got a great history there.”

Whistler’s Michael Janyk, who was third in slalom at the 2009 world championships in Val d’Isere, France, leads an experienced and deep men’s technical team.

“We are coming in with a really strong team,” said Janyk, adding his result in Val d’Isere is a big “confidence boost” heading into Garmisch. “We like this hill and we are looking forward to it.”

Thomsen, meanwhile, is rewarded for his determination and perseverance by being handed the chance to make his world championship debut. The Invermere, B.C., skier has spent the past few summers working construction and landscaping jobs to allow him to pursue his dream of competing at the highest level.

“The young bucks have the chance to step up on the big stage and show what they can do,” said Guay.

Whistler’s Britt Janyk, a World Cup race winner in 2007, will take part in her sixth world championships and leads a youthful ladies’ team.

Marie-Michèle Gagnon, of Lac-Etchemin, Que., who was fifth in the giant slalom at St. Moritz, Switzerland, in December, will be taking part in her second world championships, while Anna Goodman competes in her third.
Canada will have two alternates in Garmisch: Paul Stutz, of Banff, Alta., on the men’s team and Elli Terwiel, of Sun Peaks, B.C., for the ladies.
•Julien Cousineau (Lachute, Que.)
•7bull;Erik Guay (Mont-Tremblant, Que.)
•Jan Hudec (Calgary, Alta.)
•Michael Janyk (Whistler, B.C.)
•Jean-Philippe Roy (Ste-Flavie, Que. / Gatineau, Que.)
•Brad Spence (Calgary, Alta.)
•Ben Thomsen (Invermere, B.C.)
•Trevor White (Calgary, Alta.)

•Anna Goodman (Pointe-Claire, Que.)
•Britt Janyk (Whistler, B.C.)
•Marie-Michèle Gagnon (Lac-Etchemin, Que.)
•Erin Mielzynski (Guelph, Ont.)
•Brittany Phelan (Mont-Tremblant, Que.)
•Marie-Pier Préfontaine (Saint-Sauveur, Que.)
•Ève Routhier (Sherbrooke, Que.)

•February 8: Ladies’ super-G
•February 9: Men’s super-G
•February 11: Ladies’ super-combined
•February 12: Men’s downhill
•February 13: Ladies’ downhill
•February 14: Men’s super-combined
•February 16: Team event
•February 17: Ladies’ giant slalom
•February 18: Men’s giant slalom
•February 19: Ladies’ slalom
•February 20: Men’s slalom