This article was originally published on the Alpine Canada website.
There’s no doubt Manuel Osborne-Paradis likes skiing in Kvitfjell.
Six years after winning the World Cup Downhill in Kvitfjell, Osborne-Paradis once again made his mark in Norway, finishing 2nd in Saturday’s Downhill with a time of 1:29.95. Osborne-Paradis, a native of North Vancouver, BC, was just three-tenths of a second off the winning pace of Austria’s Hannes Reichelt and eight-hundredths ahead of third place finisher Werner Heel of Italy.
“I’m so happy that it worked out and happy to be on the podium,” says Osborne-Paradis. “I want to get good results and I want to be part of the show and it’s fun when you actually are.”
Osborne-Paradis was the fastest-clocked skier on the race, at one point surpassing 150 km/h.
Osborne-Paradis’ season has been one of ups and downs. He started the Audi FIS Ski World Cup season with a 2nd-place finish in the Downhill in Lake Louise in November and was 7th in the opening Super-G, but then fell off the pace his competitors were setting throughout the season.
A significant contributor to Osborne-Paradis’ challenging results was the fact that he was skiing faster than ever before. His newly found speed contributed to two high speed and high impact falls prior to the World Championships in February. He admits that it took some time to get back to form.
“I’ve been dealing with multiple issues, falling a lot and my body not being 100 per cent,” he says. “It’s just been a couple of races for my mind to realize that my body is 100 per cent and I should be pushing hard. I wrapped my head around it today. I was shocked seeing the video when I came down. I got down and I’m in second and I thought ‘no way’. It’s just great.”
Osborne-Paradis can add today’s podium to his collection, bringing his Kvitfjell total to three. He won the Downhill in 2009, finished 2nd in the 2013 Super-G and continued his streak with today’s 2nd place finish.
“I like the course. You can take the risk,” says Osborne-Paradis. “It’s not a death-defying race by any stretch. You have to know when to push it and when you can just take it easy. It’s a great course for me.”
Benjamin Thomsen of Invermere, BC cracked the top 20 in the race, finishing in 17th with a time of 1:30.41. Morgan Pridy (Whistler, BC) was 48th (1:31.54) and World Cup rookie Broderick Thompson (Whistler, BC) finished 56th (1:32.66).
Meanwhile, in the ladies’ Downhill in Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany, Canada’s Larisa Yurkiw finished in 11th place when she crossed the line in a time of 1:42.72, just one-tenth from the top ten. Yurkiw, of Owen Sound, ON, was Canada’s lone competitor on this day.
Liechtenstein’s Tina Weirather won the race in 1:40.94.