Alpine skiing world championships underway in St. Moritz
Every two years Canada’s top alpine skiers take their best shot at a world championship podium.
The competition got started on Tuesday with the women’s super-G. Marie-Michèle Gagnon was Canada’s top skier, placing 19th.
Wednesday morning brings with it the men’s super-G, in which Dustin Cook is the reigning silver medallist from 2015. But this has been a comeback season after he missed all of 2015-16, recovering from a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee. He’ll be the first Canadian out of the gate, wearing bib number 12. Erik Guay, who won super-G bronze at the World Cup in Val Gardena in December goes two spots later. He’s also had past success in St. Moritz, winning downhill bronze at last year’s World Cup Finals. In 2011, he was the downhill world champion. The third Canadian in the field, Manuel Osborne-Paradis, starts at number 26, eager to build on his sixth place finish in the downhill at Garmish-Partenkirchen less than two weeks ago.
On Friday, the women will compete in the combined, an event in which Gagnon earned a World Cup victory last season.
The men’s and women’s downhills highlight the weekend schedule before the technical events take centre stage.
Included in that category on Valentine’s Day will be the team event, which will make its Olympic debut next February in PyeongChang. Two years ago, Erin Mielzynski, Phil Brown, Candace Crawford, Trevor Philp, Marie-Pier Prefontaine and Erik Read won silver, losing to powerhouse Austria in the head-to-head final. All except Prefontaine are in St. Moritz this week.
Read is one of Canada’s up-and-comers, having won the overall Nor-Am Cup title last season. The technical specialist has four top-10 finishes on the World Cup this season. Another young skier to watch is Valérie Grenier. Just 20-years-old, she is the reigning world junior champion in the downhill and world junior silver medallist in the super-G.