PANORAMA, B.C. (March 16, 2012) – Kimberly Joines laid everything on the line in the last race of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) World Cup season in Panorama, B.C., on Friday, falling just short in her quest for the slalom Crystal Globe.
Going into Friday’s race, Joines, of Edmonton, Alta., was tied for the lead in the discipline standings with Anna Schaffelhuber, of Germany. Joines went for the win but she didn’t finish the first run. And with Schaffelhuber finishing second, the German sit-skier took the slalom crown.
“Yah, I’m totally disappointed,” said Joines, who went out on the second-to-last gate. “I approached it as if I needed to give myself a good lead in the first run and I really charged hard and had a really awesome run, but just couldn’t hold onto it the last couple of gates.
“I’m proud of myself and how I skied and I know I would have laid down a smoking fast time had I crossed the line. I guess that’s ski racing. I still feel good about going forward instead of being more conservative and safely getting through. It’s the way I want to be skiing all the time.”
Joines has previously won Crystals Globes in giant slalom, super-G and slalom, as well as an overall Crystal Globe. Friday’s result has left her hungry to win more in the years to come.
“I don’t think you could get rid of me if you tried,” said Joines, who returned this season after recovering from hip and shoulder injuries suffered in 2010. “I think generally it’s been a positive season and I’ve got some consistency things to work out and some equipment things, but I really feel I’m in a good place compared to where I’ve been in the last few years.”
The USA’s Alana Nichols won the ladies’ sitting race in two minutes, 10.62 seconds. Anna Schaffelhuber, of Germany, was second (2:15.47), while Tatsuko Aoki was third (2:26.48).
Heavy snowfall in Panorama this week, followed by rain, created very difficult conditions for the racers on Friday.
“We were calling it a war zone. There were a lot of big ruts and stuff, considering I was only the 18th racer down,” said Joines. “The ruts were bigger than anything that I’ve had to ski before. With the big ruts it was kind of like hitting land mines in the last few gates leading to the finish. Quite a few athletes went out in the same spot I did as well.”
The conditions made it especially difficult for the one-legged skiers. Braydon Luscombe, of Duncan B.C., who is a right-leg amputee, battled through the conditions to finish in eighth, which was his best World Cup result.
“I’m pretty happy about today,” said Luscombe, who crossed the line in a two-run combined time of 1:59.38. “For the conditions, I did well. For us one-leggers it was hard day. For other people, like two-leggers, it’s easier to ride the ruts. For us it takes a whole lot more energy and we have a lot less balance.”
Continental Cup head coach Sébastien Michel was also happy with Luscombe’s run.
“It was good he could ski solid. He made a few mistakes, but he brought it to the finish and in the second run he had a solid run again,” Michel said. “That's a great way to finish this World Cup block, with a top 10. That’s really positive.”
Also competing in the men’s standing category was Kirk Schornstein, of Spruce Grove, Alta., who was the top Canadian for the fourth straight race, finishing seventh with a two-run combined time of 1:58.72. Matt Hallat, of Coquitlam, B.C., did not finish his first run, while Morgan Perrin, of Vancouver, B.C., did not take part in the race due to a knee injury.
New Zealand’s Adam Hall won the men’s standing race in a time of 1:49.00. Hall also won the super combined on Thursday. Vincent Gauthier-Manuel, of France, was second (1:50.05) and Thomas Pfyl, of Switzerland was third (1:53.33).
In the men’s sitting category, Caleb Brousseau, of Terrace, B.C., who has been fighting an illness, was able to compete Friday and finish in sixth in 1:57.55 - his best result on the World Cup circuit.
“Caleb did really well,” Michel said. “He skied two solid runs, especially the first one, in pretty bumpy conditions.”
Josh Dueck, of Kimberly B.C., who won a super-G on Wednesday, was fourth in the first run, but did not finish the second run. Germany’s Thomas Nolte won the men’s sitting race in 1:49.52, followed by Japan’s Takeski Suzuki (1:49.89) and his teammate Taiki Morii (1:53.18).
In the ladies’ standing race, Canadian Para-Alpine Ski Team prospects Alexandra Starker, of Calgary, Alta., and Vanessa Knight, of Bair d’Urfé, Que., were seventh (2:10.14) and 10th (2:15.71), respectively. It was Knight’s first World Cup race.
“It was good - I finished!” said Knight after the race. “I kind of went in there saying, ‘I just want to get some experience.’ I didn’t want to take it too, too seriously and I think it went well, so I’m happy.”
The ladies’ standing race was won by France’s Marie Bochet in a two-run combined time of 1:55.57. Germany’s Andrea Rothfuss was second (2:01.21), and Petra Smarzova, of Slovakia, was third (2:04.61). Melanie Schwartz, of Toronto, Ont. - who skis for the Ontario Disabled Alpine Race Team - was 11th (2:24.39).
Overall World Cup head coach Sven Pouliot was content with how the week went in Panorama.
“We had some amazing results,” Pouliot said. “We didn’t perform the way we were expecting to - I think the conditions were part of it. What was important was that the guys attacked and really tried to challenge the hill and the course the way we wanted to and we had a lot of DNFs for that reason.
“That was an amazing win from Josh and from Kim. I think it definitely showed that we’re still in the game.”
MARCH 16 – IPC WORLD CUP FINALS– PANORAMA, B.C. – MENS’ SLALOM
MARCH 16 – IPC WORLD CUP FINALS– PANORAMA, B.C. – LADIES’ SLALOM
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