BC's McLeish, Rytz, Thomsen, MacLean Close Pontiac Cup on Slalom Podium - BC Alpine Ski Association

February 10, 2009 – BANFF, Alta., – Curtis Lush of Toronto won the gold medal in the men’s slalom Tuesday to deny Ben Thomsen of Invermere, B.C., a victory sweep of all four races at the Mount Norquay stop on the Pontiac GMC Cup alpine skiing circuit.

Lush posted a two-run combined time of one minute and 32.83 seconds for his second medal of the competition. Thomsen, the giant slalom winner on Saturday and Sunday as well as Monday’s slalom, followed in 1:33.85. Ben MacLean of Pemberton, B.C., took the bronze in 1:34.77.

“It certainly was in the back of my mind that Ben (Thomsen) was going for a fourth victory,” said Lush, 18. “But I also knew that slalom was more my forte than his and overall I’ve been skiing really well in the slalom this season.”

Thomsen was eyeing that fourth win.

“I couldn’t make it happen but it would have been nice,” he said. “Second place is definitely not a bad thing. The first run I made a mistake and needed to make up a lot of time on the second run. I was pleased with how stayed focused throughout all four days of competition and didn’t hold anything back even though these were my first slalom races this year.”

Thomsen leads the overall standings with 380 points, Dominique Rolland of Laval, Que., is second at 186 and MacLean third at 180.

Jennifer Saunders of Calgary also completed a strong meet earning a second consecutive gold in the women’s slalom in 1:51.19. Madison McLeish of Vancouver was second in 1:53.10 and Celine Rytz of Calgary and the BC Development Team was third in 1:54.58.

“The slalom course had a lot of turns which was tough but I was able to pull it off,” said Saunders, who posted the fastest times on both runs and collected three medals here overall. “I did not worry about finishing the race, I just went for it.”

McLeish wanted that first run back after posting the third fastest time.

“I could have pushed harder on the first run,” she said. “I held back too much. On the second run I was able to push it more and just went for it. It was my first podium of the series so it is a nice way to finish.”

Rytz earned her first medal on the circuit.

“My first run was good but I seemed to run out of steam on my second run,” said the B.C., provincial team member. “I am just glad that I was able to finish strong and end up in the medals.”

Saunders leads the overall standings with 296 points followed by Maude Longtin of Laval, Que., at 250 and Mariannick Therer of St-Sauveur, Que., at 200.

This is the 40th anniversary of the inception of the Coupe Pontiac GMC Cup. The series is the brain-child of Olympic Champion Nancy Greene Raine, who approached General Motors with the concept of creating a strong domestic series for up-and-coming Canadian alpine racers to compete with the best across the country. GM of Canada has a rich history as a benefactor to communities and to amateur support. Thus, the original Pontiac Cup series was launched, and out of it came some of Canada’s best alpine racers including Kathy Kreiner, Gerry Sorensen, Laurie Graham, Karen Percy, and the Crazy Canucks.

Banff Mount Norquay has a long history as an important training venue for Canadian athletes and of hosting major events, including previous Pontiac GMC Cups and Canadian Championships. This is the second successive year to host and support Canada’s young ski racers and future Olympic athletes.

The circuit heads back east for stops at Camp-Fortune, Que., February 20-21 and Collingwood, Ont., February 23-24.


Women’s Slalom Results – Top 15 (Unofficial)
1 6 SAUNDERS Jennifer CAN NATC 55.87 55.32 1:51.19 (First J1)
2 24 MCLEISH Madison CAN WHIST 57.46 55.64 1:53.10 (Second J1)
3 3 RYTZ Celine CAN FERNI 56.41 58.17 1:54.58 (Third J1)
4 4 CARROLL Tianda CAN EASA 57.50 57.44 1:54.94
5 9 CARROLL Emma CAN EASA 58.65 56.33 1:54.98
6 7 DORING Evanna CAN EASA 58.06 57.03 1:55.09
7 17 ORDMAN Hannah CAN NATC 58.12 57.12 1:55.24
8 10 TIMOSHENKO Elyse AUS 59.48 58.73 1:58.21
9 16 FREEMAN Sarah CAN FERNI 1:01.19 58.82 2:00.01
10 15 DAKIN Tessa CAN EASA 1:00.50 59.60 2:00.10
11 31 GIBSON Kaitlyn CAN FAST 1:00.28 59.91 2:00.19
12 29 DIELENSCHNEIDER Sarah GER 1:03.01 1:00.55 2:03.56
13 33 DE LOTBINIERE-BASSETT Madeleine CAN WHIST 1:03.32 1:00.24 2:03.56
14 42 BRENNER Kim CAN LKLSE 1:02.51 1:01.46 2:03.97
15 61 ALBOIU Vanessa CAN NATC 1:02.99 1:00.98 2:03.97

Men’s Slalom Results – Top 15 (Unofficial)
1 3 LUSH Curtis CAN TSCBM 46.16 46.67 1:32.83
2 6 THOMSEN Benjamin CAN WINDR 46.91 46.94 1:33.85
3 11 MACLEAN Benjamin CAN WHIST 46.76 48.01 1:34.77

4 7 BANSMER Michael USA 48.10 48.56 1:36.66
5 10 BARWOOD Adam NZE 48.29 48.62 1:36.91 (First J1)
6 17 NEVISON Ross CAN PGEOR 48.74 48.42 1:37.16
7 41 MORRIS Spencer CAN WHIST 49.39 48.74 1:38.13 (Second J1)
8 25 WRIGHT Cole USA 48.54 49.81 1:38.35
9 13 RACKLEY Justin USA 49.08 49.28 1:38.36
10 15 ROSS Dylan CAN BANFF 49.62 48.88 1:38.50 (Third J1) 
11 8 DEANS Ian CAN BIGWH 49.35 49.80 1:39.15
12 16 TIMMONS Connel CAN BANFF 50.53 49.12 1:39.65
13 34 SMITH Sean CAN WHIST 50.83 50.12 1:40.95
14 30 BINKS Alexander CAN WHIST 50.81 50.25 1:41.06

15 29 GIGIC Filip CAN NATC 50.67 50.47 1:41.14

Norquay PGMC Day 2 Slalom - 1 LUSH Curtis CAN TSCBM; 2 THOMSEN Benjamin CAN WINDR; 3 11 MACLEAN Benjamin CAN WHIST; 4 BANSMER Michael USA; 5  BARWOOD Adam NZE     Norquay PGMC Day 2 Slalom - 1  SAUNDERS Jennifer NATC; 2 MCLEISH Madison WHIST; 3  RYTZ Celine FERNI; 4  CARROLL Tianda EASA; 5  CARROLL Emma EASA;