ALBERTA

Osborne-Paradis among fastest in in training run for World Cup in Lake Louise

11/26/2014 03:30 EST | Updated 01/26/2015 05:59 EST
LAKE LOUISE, Alta. - Going in with the philosophy that you perform how you practise, Canada's Manny Osborne-Paradis pushed the pace in the first World Cup downhill training run of the season.

Norway's Kjetil Jansrud posted the fastest time at Lake Louise with the Osborne-Paradis right behind him. Jansrud, who won downhill bronze and super-G gold at this year's Winter Olympics, laid down a time of one minute 54.21 seconds in falling snow.

Osborne-Paradis of North Vancouver, B.C., was .33 back in 1:54.54. Olympic downhill champion Matthias Mayer of Austria was third in 1:54.92.

Between 30 to 50 centimetres of snow were projected to fall Thursday and Friday in the mountain parks west of Calgary, which is problematic for training runs scheduled before Saturday's race.

That amount of snow significantly adds to the workload of grooming the course, so cancelling one or both training runs to give technicians time to prepare the track for races is a possibility. The first World Cup downhill of 2014-15 is Saturday followed by Sunday's super-G.

Osborne-Paradis wanted a quality training run Wednesday in case it was the only one. The 30-year-old also wanted to simulate race speed so it won't feel like a completely different gear Saturday.

"I knew there might not be a (another) training run and for me personally, if I want a chance at any overall globe in my career, to get a higher world ranking or anything, I have to be better in training runs," he said.

"It's just the same speed in the race instead of having to be way faster. I've just been trying to keep up that race pace."

Jeffrey Frisch of Mont-Tremblant, Que., was sixth. Calgary's Jan Hudec, who won Olympic bronze in super-G, was 17th.

"The other thing we talked with coach about in the meeting yesterday was this might be our only training run," Hudec said. "If you kind of ease your way down today, you've got to pull something big out of the bag on Saturday."

Former world champion Erik Guay of Mont-Tremblant, Que., will not race this weekend. Canada's most decorated World Cup racer with 22 career medals has delayed the start of his racing season after a pair of off-season knee surgeries.

Lake Louise is the lone Canadian stop on the World Cup alpine ski circuit. Osborne-Paradis was the last Canadian man on the podium in 2009 when he won super-G.

That win capped a run of four straight years a Canadian finished somewhere on the men's podium in Lake Louise in either downhill or super-G. Osborne-Paradis was also second in downhill in 2007.

"I feel confident on my skis," Osborne-Paradis said Wednesday. "That's definitely Step 1. I've come here before and not felt great, but I don't know if you can really tell a whole lot from today. Hopefully we get another training run and just take it day by day."

Norway's Aksel Lund Svindal is not in Lake Louise after claiming three straight super-G wins as well as the downhill two years ago. He injured his Achilles' tendon playing soccer last month.

The prize purse in each race this weekend is $117,000 with $35,000 going to the victor.

Osborne-Paradis, 30, married Lana McIntosh on Sept. 20. The couple live in Invermere, B.C.

"I didn't wear my ring today because it's race season," Osborne-Paradis said. "I told her I wasn't going to wear it as long as I started actually racing.

"With the amount of people hitting their hands on gates and stuff, you don't want to break your finger and then lose your ring finger."

Former Austrian racer Hannes Trinkl is now an assistant referee in Lake Louise, where he won the downhill in 1999. Trinkl has set a course the Canadians feel is a throwback with less turns.

"It's probably set the way it was when he raced it more or less. Back when downhill was downhill," Hudec explained. "(Teammate) Ben Thomsen made a comment this morning, 'I'm excited to race my first ever World Cup downhill', as a joke because our downhills have been getting turnier and turnier over the years and more technical.

"People think this suits me more, but obviously Manny's been really fast in training especially in gliding. So far, he's killing it. In those years, I've learned how to turn so I now like the turns."

In other results Wednesday, Morgan Pridy of Whistler, B.C., was 45th and his brother Conrad finished 57th. Ben Thomsen of Invermere placed 61st and Dustin Cook of Lac-Sainte-Marie, Que., was 64th. Broderick Thomson of Whistler placed 73rd and Calgary's Tyler Werry 79th.

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