Colby Granstrom, USA - Whistler Cup 2003
Click for larger image

Halbert, who skis out of the Toronto Ski Club and was part of the K1 CIBC Team Canada, finished the two-run slalom on the Upper Dave Murray in a total time of one minute, 18.97 – edging Norway's Knut Masdal into the third spot by a gap of 12 hundredths.

“I was expecting to finish in the top 15,” said Halbert. “I was really surprised to end up in second place. I was really nervous at the start, but something my coach Norm said really helped. He said: 'Go for it, don't hold anything back.'”

And Halbert didn't hold back, finishing third after the first run, and jumping into second after the second run.

Halbert came closest to catching American Colby Granstrom who won the slalom with a 2.02-second lead over the rest of the field. It was Granstrom's second win in as many days.
“Slalom is my best event so I was confident that I would do well today. I definitely met the goals that I had set coming into the competition,” said Granstrom, who has enjoyed participating in the Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup. “Whistler is really fun, and most of the athletes from around the world were really nice.”

The top Canadian in the boys' K1 slalom was Tristan Tafel of the Banff Alpine Racers who was skiing as part of CIBC Team Canada. Tafel was 12th, while Calgary's Erik Read – son of Crazy Canuck Ken Read and his wife Lynda, also a Canadian Alpine Ski Team alumnus – showed he can hold his own amongst the best in the world. Read finished 14th in his first year racing K1.

In the women's K1 slalom, Norway's Thea Gosvold garnered her second medal in two events by winning the race in a total time of 1:16.73. Congratulations poured in to the quiet blonde from coaches and teammates as they huddled at the finish, where Gosvold was unable to keep the smile off her lips.

Giulia Siccardi also scored her second medal of the series, this time in silver. American Julia Ford was third, to her delight and that of her teammates and coaches who sent their best wishes over the team radio.

Eastern Canadians led the Canadian charge in the slalom, with Maude Longtin (Quebec), Aimee Bell-Pasht (Ontario), and Madison Irwin (Ontario) finishing 13th, 14th and 15th respectively.

The K2-aged racers were on the Raven-Ptarmigan run for their giant slalom. The race was decided in only one run, meaning racers had to find their speed early on to ensure a good result.

That was no problem for Austria's Bernhard Graf, who completed his gold-medal hat-trick by laying down a solid run in 43.61.

“I really hoped to win – I kind of thought I would,” said the quiet Graf whose father is a former ski racer who now helps coach his son. “My goal is to ski on the World Cup some day.”

If his results at this year's Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup are any indication, Graf is certainly well on his way to achieving that goal someday. Past Whistler Cup winners and top-10 finishers include some of the hottest names in Canadian ski racing and on today's World Cup circuit, including World Championships competitors and medalists Allison Forsyth, Britt Janyk, Jeff Hume, Jan Hudec, and Erik Guay – all of Canada – as well as Anja Paerson (Sweden), Tina Maze (Slovenia), Benjamin Raich (Austria), and Marco Sullivan (U.S.).

Finishing second in the boys' GS was Kamden Burke, while his teammate Travis Ganong came back from his 40th start position to finish third.
The top Canadian finisher for the second day in a row was Pont-Rouge, Quebec's Philippe Crete-Belzile, who finished 8th.

“My goal in the GS was to be in the top-5, so 8th is good,” said Crete-Belzile, who represented Canada at Trofeo Topolino this year. “I wasn't really nervous today, I felt ready for the race. At the start, you don't think about your competition – you just try to do your best so you have no regrets when you cross the finish line. What really surprised me was the slalom – I hoped to finish in the top-20, but I was 12th after my first run and I was really excited when ended up sixth overall.”

Other Canadians in the top-15 were Whistler's Matthew Holler who was 10th, Tyler Nella who was 11th, and Piedmont, Quebec's Simon Mannella who finished 12th.

On the girls' side, Kaia Gulsvik of Norway garnered her third medal of the competition by winning the giant slalom in 44.41.
“I think the course was great. I was not expecting to get a medal – I was going for maybe a top-five,” she said.

Camilla Borsotti of Italy was second with a time of 44.57. She has played a large role in her country's success at the Sierra Wireless Air Canada Whistler Cup with her second medal and third top-five finish of the competition.
“The course was very good, really fast, but it was kind of short. I really like longer courses,” she said. “My goal coming into the competition was to medal in at least one discipline, and I've exceeded that.”

Once again, it was Piedmont's Caroline Brault who was top Canadian, finishing 8th in 45.62. Her coach and brother Francis Brault admitted they were both happy with her strong showing this weekend. Owen Sound, Ontario's Larisa Yurkiw finished 11th, while Marie-Pier Prefontaine was 14th.

Women's K2 giant slalom (one run)
Top 15: 1. (12) Kaia Gulsvik, Norway, 44.41; 2. (15) Camilla Borsotti, Italy, 44.57; 3. (11) Anna Fenninger, Austria, 44.70; 4. (19) Michela Basso, Italy, 45.06; 5. (4) Laura Gruber, Germany, 45.22; 6. (25) Stefanie Moser, Austria, 45.23; 7. (2) Amy Harris, USA, 45.30; 8. (8) Caroline Brault, Piedmont, Que., 45.62; 9. (38) Shelly Bown, USA, 45.65; 10. (28) Anne Cecilie Brusletto, Norway, 45.67; 11. (26) Larisa Yurkiw, Owen Sound, Ont., 45.72; 12. (21) Nina Loeseth, Norway, 45.78; 13. (17) Kristina Liegl, Austria, 45.88; 14. (42) Marie-Pier Prefontaine, Quebec, 46.19; 15. (1) Dora Ton, Croatia, 46.25.
Men's K2 giant slalom (one run)
Top 15: 1. (17) Bernhard Graf, Austria, 43.61; 2. (3) Kamden Burke, USA, 44.34; 3. (40) Travis Ganong, USA, 44.75; 4. (25) Giacomo Siega, Italy, 45.09; 5. (21) Riccardo Necchi, Italy, 45.15; 6. (6) Marco Fuchs, Austria, 45.22; 7. (31) Matthias Feichtner, Austria, 45.29; 8. (15) Philippe Crete-Belzile, Pont-Rouge, Que., 45.32; 9. (10) Hagen Patscheider, Italy, 45.41; 10. (9) Matthew Holler, Whistler, B.C., 45.50; 11. (50) Tyler Nella, Canada, 45.41; 12. (24) Simon Mannella, Piedmont, Que., 45.88; 13. (55) Zach Schwartz, USA, 45.90; 14. (13) Herman Lager, Norway, 45.92; 15. (1) Paul De La Cuesta, Spain, 46.15.
Women's K1 slalom
Top 15: 1. (5) Thea Grosvold, Norway, 1:16.73; 2. (12) Giulia Siccardi, Italy, 1:19.23; 3. (8) Julia Ford, USA, 1:23.87; 4. (4) Sofija Novoselic, Croatia, 1:23.93; 5. (17) Angel Collinson, USA, 1:24.82; 6. (3) Elena Curtoni, Italy, 1:24.97; 7. (9) Madison Shepard, USA, 1;25.56; 8. (25) Kelly Connelly, USA, 1:26.20; 9. (21) Shannon Bloom, USA, 1:27.04; 10. (2) Katarina Troppova, Slovakia, 1:27.16; 11. (4) Tea Palic, Croatia, 1:27.65; 12. (10) Lana Kostic, Croatia, 1:27.70; 13. (18) Maude Longtin, Quebec, 1:29.23; 14. (47) Aimee Bell-Pasht, Ontario, 1:29.45; 15. (23) Madison Irwin, Ontario, 1;32.84.
Men's K1 slalom
Top 15: 1. (8) Colby Granstrom, USA, 1:16.95; 2. (21) Kelby Halbert, Bradford, Ont., 1:18.97; 3. (12) Knut Masdal, Norway, 1:19.09; 4. (22) Stefano Barattero, Italy, 1:19.48; 5. (18) Espen Lysdahl, Norway, 1:19.74; 6. (23) Emil Kristiansen, Norway, 1:20.03; 7. (11) Adria Manzano, Andora, 1;21.48; 8. (3) Peter Bendik, Slovakia, 1:22.31; 9. (9) Hyeon-Tae Kim, Korea, 1:22.61; 10. (1) Wesley Reedijk, Netherlands, 1:23.41; 11. (37) Wil Prim, USA, 1:24.07; 12. (13) Tristan Tafel, Banff, Alta., 1:24.52; 13. (5) Hrvoje Bosnar, Croatia, 1:25.18; 14. (26) Erik Read, Calgary, Alta., 1:25.93; 15. (32) Andrew McNealus, USA, 1;25.96.