Taryn O'Flynn of Beaumont, Alta. earned her first victory in four seasons on the Pontiac GMC Cup alpine skiing circuit Saturday with a Gold medal finish in the women's slalom.
O'Flynn clocked a two-run total time of two minutes and 03.71 seconds. Kristen Tarchuk of Banff, Alta. took the silver in 2:04.02 and Shona Rubens of Calgary, who was Friday's giant slalom winner, was third for bronze in 2:04.44.
“It was first or nothing for me and I went all out,'' said O'Flynn, in second spot after the first run. “It's definitely a big thrill for me to get that first win.'”
Tarchuk lifted a giant weight off her shoulders by just finishing the race. She hadn't completed a slalom event in over a year. “I was working on just finishing this weekend,” said Tarchuk, a double downhill winner on the circuit last season. “I was starting to get discouraged in the slalom, but that's pretty good to get second place today. I carried my speed well onto the flats.”
BC girls finishing in the top 15 were Anastasia Skryabina (Whistler Mountain Ski Club) taking the 11th spot, Rachel Nixon (Cypress Ski Club/VST) finishing 13th and Megan Kidston (100 Mile House & Sun Peaks Alpine Club) closing the day in 15th.
In the men's slalom, James Arnott of New Zealand earned his second win in three days, clocking 1:52.92, followed by Graham Kraft of Vernon, B.C. and the BC Ski Team, who took the silver medal for his second place finish in 1:53.40. Dustin McLeay of Calgary was third in 1:54.17.
Kraft had a plan to land on the podium and he stuck to it. “I took it easy on the first run just to stay in contention,” said Kraft, who was third after the first. “On the second run, I gripped and it and ripped it.”
Brian Bennett of Quesnel, BC finished just off the podium in fourth place, and BC Ski Team members Ben Chaddock (Whistler Mountain Ski Club) and Marcus Waring (Mt. Seymour/Whistler Mountain Ski Club) were 5th and 8th respectively. Speeding into 10th spot was Kelowna's Tyler McNabb.
The Pontiac GMC Cup circuit was conceived 35 years ago, first as the Pontiac Cup Series from 1969 to 1981 before it was rekindled and renamed in 1998 as the Pontiac GMC Cup. It is a developmental circuit for Canada's young alpine skiers who aspire to compete at the World Cup and Olympic level. This year's crop is expected to be in its prime for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
There are 16-races across Canada this season culminating with the Pontiac GMC Canadian Championships March 16-24 at Le Massif and Mont Sainte-Anne, Que. More than $50,000 in prize money is up for grabs.
The first stop on the circuit concludes Sunday with another men's and women' s slalom.
Saturday's slalom results at the Pontiac GMC Cup alpine skiing competition at Nakiska, Alta. (two-run total time).
Men: 1. James Arnott, New Zealand, 1:52.92; 2. Graham Kraft, Vernon, B.C., 1:53.40; 3. Dustin McLeay, Calgary, 1:54.17; 4. Brian Bennett, Quesnel,
B.C., 1:55.61; 5. Ben Chaddock, Richmond, B.C., 1:55.63; 6. Michael O'Flynn,
Beaumont, Alta., 1:56.32; 7. Jeff Crompton, Calgary, 1:56.99; 8. Marcus
Waring, Vancouver 1:57.17; 9. Momotaro Kagitani, Banff, Alta., 1:57.27; 10.
Tyler McNabb, Kelowna, B.C., 1:57.49.
Women: 1. Taryn O'Flynn, Beaumont, Alta., 2:03.71; 2. Kristen Tarchuk, Banff, Alta., 2:04.02; 3. Shona Rubens, Calgary, 2:04.44; 4. Alison Hunter,
Calgary, 2:04.65; 5. Kayla Bridgeneau, Calgary, 2:05.62; 6. Allison Empey,
Calgary, 2:06.00; 7. Izzy Lynch, Calgary, 2:06.31; 8. Janelle Miller,
Lethbridge, Alta., 2:06.71; 9. Stephanie Roorda, Calgary, 2:07.79; 10.
Victoria Hockley, Calgary, 2:09.01.