Road To The Olympic Games

Canada's Grenier achieves personal best at season-opening giant slalom

Ottawa-born Valérie Grenier set the bar high to open another alpine ski season, placing a career-best 11th in the women's giant slalom on Saturday in Sö​lden, Austria.

Teammate Gagnon misses 2nd run in injury return, while Crawford hurts right ankle

Ottawa-born Valérie Grenier finished a career-high 11th place at Saturday's season-opening women's giant slalom in Sö​lden, Austria. (Joe Klamar/AFP/Getty Images)

Ottawa-born Valérie Grenier set the bar high to open another alpine ski season, placing a career-best 11th in the women's giant slalom on Saturday in Sö​lden, Austria.

Grenier, who didn't finish the event at the Olympics last February, climbed from 24th spot on Saturday.

"I am so excited, I still can't believe it," the 21-year-old said in a statement released by Alpine Canada. "Solden is one of the toughest World Cups … a great way to start the season."

Grenier's teammate, Marie-Michele Gagnon, sat 32nd and narrowly missed advancing as the top 30 moved on.

A native of Lac Etchemin, Que., Gagnon had her 2017-18 season wiped out last December after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in her right knee during a training run in Lake Louise, Alta.

Worley wins in poor conditions

Fellow Canadian Candace Crawford fell on the first run on Saturday and is having her right ankle examined, according to Alpine Canada.

Tessa Worley won Saturday's World Cup event in difficult weather as snowfall and low clouds limited visibility, forcing organizers to lower the start gate.

The world champion from France was four tenths of a second off the lead after the first run but posted the fastest time in the final run.

"Sö​lden is the place where you want to win as a GS skier at least once," Worley said. "It was a pretty tough race. I am proud of this. It was a huge fight. The slope was very bumpy, very difficult, you couldn't see much. I just wanted to charge and have no regrets afterward."

Worley beat first-run leader Federica Brignone of Italy by 0.35, while Olympic GS champion Mikaela Shiffrin finished 0.94 behind in third.

The result gave Worley the perfect start to her mission this season: winning back the World Cup title in the discipline.

'I am trying to enjoy it more'

Worley won the crystal globe for best GS skier in 2017, but lost her title to Viktoria Rebensburg the next year after the last race of the season at the World Cup Finals was cancelled.

"I put too much pressure on myself last season and I didn't have great Olympics," Worley said. "Now I am trying to enjoy it more. Pressure is always there, but today I wasn't thinking about what could go wrong."

Rebensburg of Germany was second after Saturday's opening run but dropped to fourth, 0.99 off the lead.

Snow, gusts forecast for men's GS

The bad weather could also affect Sunday's opening race of the men's World Cup, as snowfall was expected to increase and gusts have been forecast.

Citing "the present weather situation," organizers will also lower the start for that race, while the actual setting of gates has been postponed until early Sunday morning.

The two runs are scheduled for 4 a.m. and 7 a.m. ET, respectively.

With files from The Associated Press

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