BC Team's Zaitsoff Rises To Top Podium Step at Sun Peaks Pontiac GMC Slalom - BC Alpine Ski Association

SUN PEAKS, B.C. – Sasha Zaitsoff of Balfour, B.C., collected his first career medal on the Pontiac GMC Cup alpine skiing circuit on Sunday with a victory in the men’s slalom. Andrea Bliss of Edmonton continued an impressive comeback from an early-season concussion taking the women’s race.

Zaitsoff, 17, clocked a two-run combined time of 1:45.17 with Jonathan Hadley of Britain second in 1:46.70 and Andy Trow of Canmore, Alta., third in 1:46.81.

‘’I’m not surprised to win,’’ said Zaitsoff, who led by 0.4 seconds after the first run. ‘’I had a rough week and I’ve had trouble on this course because it is so flat. But I’ve been feeling good with my slalom and did well last week against pretty much the same people. So I had confidence I could get the victory here.’’

Hadley ends his weekend with a gold and two silver. He is a dual citizen, who races internationally for Britain. His hometown is Clarksburg, Ont., and his club is Edmonton Alpine Sports Academy.

‘’It was definitely a productive weekend for me,’’ said Hadley. ‘’I was third after the first run which is a position I like because there is not as much pressure on the second. I was able to move up one position. But I was definitely going for the win.’’

Trow stepped on the podium for the first time this week.

‘’I’m pretty happy about it,’’ said Trow. ‘’I had a really good second run. It’s the second run that’s been giving me trouble this week.’’

This is Bliss’s first competition this season. She had been off the slopes since September due to a concussion suffered in training. In Sunday’s women’s slalom she clocked a two-run time of 1:47.04 for her second medal this week. Amanda McDonald of the U.S., was second in 1:48.28 and Nicole Poleschuk of Calgary third in 1:49.12.

‘’I’m ecstatic, I’m so happy and proud of myself for pulling through,’’ Bliss said. ‘’I’m feeling more and more comfortable in every race. I’m really happy that I’m back. I really missed it. I still didn’t ski to my full potential in terms of technique, but I held on to every last piece of thread and I think that’s what gave me the win.’’

Poleschuk collected her third medal this week.

‘’This completes a very good competition for me,’’ said Poleschuk. ‘’I was happy with how I skied today. I felt like I was attacking the whole way down and was working the flats well. The most important factor for me was to be clean on the pitch.’’

The Pontiac GMC Cup is Canada’s national development race series geared towards the development of Canada’s future champions. The series has produced past Canadian skiing greats such as Ken Read and Kathy Kreiner and current national team stars Kelly VanderBeek, Michael Janyk and François Bourque. The series features races in four provinces culminating with the 2008 Pontiac GMC Cup Canadian Championships at Whistler, B.C., February 6-12 (speed events) and Mont-Ste-Anne, Le Relais and Stoneham March 18-23 (technical races).

Sunday’s leading results at the Pontiac GMC Cup alpine skiing competition :

Men: 1. Sasha Zaitsoff, Balfour, B.C., 1:45.17; 2. Jonathan Hadley, Britain, 1:46.70; 3. Andy Trow, Canmore, Alta., 1:46.81; 4. Cory Canart, Beaumont, Alta., 1:47.13; 5. Jamie Philp, Calgary, 1:47.55; 6. Mathieu Leduc, Comox, B.C., 1:47.76; 7. Jake Baker, U.S., 1:49.75; 8. Justiin Rackley, U.S., 1:50.10; 9. Andrew Willoughby, U.S., 1:50.26; 10. Garrett Wilson, Calgary, 1:50.30

Women: 1. Andrea Bliss, Edmonton, 1:47.04; 2. Amanda McDonald, U.S., 1:48.29; 3. Nicole Poleschuk, Calgary, 1:49.12; 4. Jessica Young, Calgary, 1:49.47; 5. Leslie Brenner, Banff, Alta., 1:49.97; 6. Terra Moran, Calgary, 1:50.62; 7. Jennifer Saunders, Calgary, 1:51.99; 8. Alexandra McGlinn, New Zealand, 1 :52.18; 9. Evanna Doring, Edmonton, 1 :52.39; 10. Charlotte Newbold, New Zealand, 1:53.20