Vincent Lavoie disregarded heavy flurries and a slowing piste to finish a solid 28th position in a training session ahead of a pair of World Cup classic downhills in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.
Lavoie, the 47th skier out of the start hut, charged down the Kandahar course in 2 minutes, 5.44 seconds, trailing leader Fritz Strobl by 3.96 seconds. Strobl, the winner here in 2001, clocked 2:01.48. Italy's Roland Fischnaller was second-quickest in 2:02.47, with Josef Strobl crossing third in 2:02.52.
Lavoie was just 0.82 behind reigning World Cup overall, downhill and super-G champion Stephan Eberharter, who finished 21st.
Lavoie is the only Canadian running the weekend's downhills. Erik Guay and Jan Hudec are still coming back from injury, while Jeff Hume is recovering from a bruised chest and a concussion sustained in a crash during the traditional Kitzbuehel downhill.
“I haven't really felt the effects of being the sole skier so far,” Lavoie said. “Jeff is still here but he's not skiing, so he keeps me company at the hotel. I think also because we went from one race to another. If we'd had a week of training, it would have been more difficult mentally, always being alone and no one to push you in training, or to compare yourself to. Sure it will be tough for the remainder of the season. I hope next year we'll have a healthy team with Erik and Jan who are training hard at home and Jeff who'll be back this season.”
Head coach Burkhard Schaffer said he hopes Hume will be fit for the downhill in St. Anton on Feb. 14. Lavoie should be joined by Dave Anderson and Francois Bourque for Sunday's super-G.